Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Limits of Friendship

True friendship is a rare find.  The doing for the sake of another, the mutual caring and the pleasure in shared activities is a thing of beauty.  This special kinship, an unbreakable bond, endures all.

Others may look upon such a relationship with longing and hope. Moo Hoo (Walker & Company) written by Candace Ryan and illustrated by Mike Lowery follows two genuine friends who pause and listen to their heart.  Sometimes, maybe, less is not more.

Cow and owl are best buddies.  Playing instruments to conjure up a tune, mending a broken toy and celebrating Halloween are done in perfect harmony.  Sitting on a grassy lawn coloring one day with their constant companions, superhero dolls, Kangaroo walks up with a greeting.

What do cow and owl do now?  A paper airplane with Kangaroo's action figure attached flies over their heads; ignoring seems to be their latest shared activity.  Even though drawing is what Kangaroo likes to do, too, sadly Kangaroo gets the hint leaving.

To be sure, the inseparable duo have a dilemma.  Realizing their mistake they seek to make it right.  Sounds from a keyboard blend perfectly with the strings and percussion making melodious music.

A single descriptive sentence followed by four clever rhyming words spins this narrative simply but with emotion.  Candace Ryan has a knack for selecting words with a beat, like notes in a song, contributing to the overall composition of this story. 

They make music together.
Moo Hoo.
Two Coo.

They search everywhere.
Moo Hoo.
Roo Who?

Front and back endpapers in a cool light green peppered with black line sketches of the two, then three, main characters' heads, some colored in with a blue or brown hue or pure white along with the action hero symbols lend a lighthearted air to the overall feel of this title.  Mike Lowery uses a pencil, traditional screen printing and print gocco (developed in Japan) to create his illustrations, finishing them digitally.  All the text in this book is hand lettered by Lowery; his love of this is featured at his website through viewing his journal drawings.

 Most of the illustrations bleed across the gutter, two page spreads, with the exception of when cow and owl are deciding what to do, in earthy greens, steel blues, warm browns with a tad bit of golden yellow.  Cow, owl and kangaroo on their spindly legs, squarish bodies and roundish heads are likable if not downright lovable.  Owls eyes are more typical of this wise bird but how so much can be conveyed on cow's and kangaroo's faces with simple dots carefully placed, coupled with arm motions, is amazing. The action hero dolls, the cow bell necklace, the plaid kerchiefs, the characters' crayon drawings and the appearance of frog and rabbit from a previous title are the details that draw readers to the story.

Two plus one equals friendship multiplied in Moo Hoo penned by Candace Ryan and pictured by Mike Lowery.  While perfect for sharing one on one, as a group read aloud this has an added (what I like to call) fun factor.  I can foresee a reader's theater evolving complete with paper bag puppets.  Moo Hoo Can Do...

No comments:

Post a Comment