Sunday, October 31, 2021

Happy Halloween!

Boynton, Sandra. Boo! Baa, La La La!
July 20th 2021 by Little Simon
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

The main character from Moo! Baa, La La La (1982) tackles the Halloween holiday in this delightful board book from the master of all board books. The cow sends a plaintive "boo" through the night air, only to be answered by a "baa". Curious about the origins of the sound, the cow utters it again, only to hear even more sounds in the night. Climbing a hill festooned with jack o'lanterns, the cow once again sends forth the Halloween greeting, and is met by a chorus of animals returning the spooky salutation. The chorus of pigs (one in a ghost costume) end with the rousing chorus of "la la la".

Boynton's drawings of farm animals are amusing and soothing in equal parts to me. From Chocolate: The Consuming Passion (1982) to greeting cards and mugs when I was in college, to the board books I read to my children in the early 1990s, Boynton's work has unfailingly delighted me. Not only are the illustrations somehow wry and satisfying, but the verse is always exquisitely done. I'm very particular about poetry, and Boynton's lines are metrically sound, and utilize an exceptional range of vocabulary with solid rhymes. Not only that, but they have a warm underlying philosophy to them as well.

I'm clearly behind on my Boynton reading, and must catch up. There is a sequel to But Not the Hippopotamus called But Not the Armadillo, and if Woodland Dance is half as good as Barnyard Dance, I desperately need it in my life.

Perhaps I can't be objective about Boynton's work. I will say that these books are ones that children will want to hear over and over again, but which will remain a delight to the adult who is compelled to do the reading. This is perhaps the highest praise one can give to a book meant for very young children!

And yes, even though I rarely buy books, I just order two copies of the 2015 reprint of Chocolate: The Consuming Passion as well as five of the board books, from my local independent bookstore, Birdie Books. I also feel a rather overwhelming desire to go to the Dubois Bookstore on Calhoun, across from the University of Cincinnati, and buy a pad of stationery with Boyton characters, or, if I am feeling flush, a mug. 

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