An appealing picture book that incorporates a series of clear messages. This is most suitable for children at the top end of the picture book age range.
Farmer Joni likes to sit on her porch and listen. She listens to her cows – Celery and Nutmeg – making sweet MOO-grass music. The farm animals listen too but they would like to make their own music. They would like to have mandolins and singing lessons. Unfortunately, lessons cost money. When a storm arrives and whips off the barn roof, Farmer Joni needs more money than she has to replace it. Celery and Nutmeg are convinced that their MOOsic skills will solve the farm’s problems, especially when a sharply dressed stranger, Georgie Smarm, offers to make them famous and introduces them to DisCOW music. Sadly, things don’t work out exactly as they planned.
As this brief summary suggests, the story in The MOOsic Makers is more complex than many picture books and it is, therefore, most suitable for children at the top end of the picture book age range. The story is, however, clearly told and the concept – farm animals making money – is likely to have a strong appeal to children. (Although even these older children may still need to have at least some of the numerous plays on words – DisCOW, liMOOsine, MOOsic etc. – explained to them).
The bold and colourful pictures are very stylised. (Indeed, out of context you might not recognise the main characters as cows.) However, they do have lots of appeal. I particularly liked all the extra details that the illustrator has added to the story including Farmer Joni’s ginger cat and the rabbits, mice and chicks that make regular appearances. The frog and insect driving bubble cars in the scene where Celery and Nutmeg try to hitch-hike home also made me smile.
In addition to a well-told story and bold pictures, The MOOsic Makers contains a series of clear messages. This includes an underlying theme of ‘no place like home’ and an emphasis on everyone working together and having the same opportunities. Through the appropriately named character of Georgie Smarm, there’s also a subtle warning to beware of people who may not be what they seem and who make unrealistic promises.
If you enjoyed this and are looking for other picture book that’s likely to appeal to slightly older children, you might also like to Winnie and Wilbur: The Monster Mystery by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul.
Publication date: July 2019
Publisher: Maverick Arts Publishing