The Moosic Makers / The Pirate Who Lost His Name

The Moosic Makers
Heather Pindar and Barbara Bakos
Maverick Publishing

Farmer Joni loves the ‘MOO-grass’ music her cows Celery and Nutmeg create, although the other animals are less enthusiastic wanting instead mandolins and singing lessons.

But when a wild storm rips the roof from Joni’s barn all the animals are ready to pitch in and raise money for a new one.
While the cows busk, Billy and Esme hold the hat. They’ve only managed to get three coins when a snappy dresser calling himself Georgie Smarm rocks up offering to make them rich and famous so long as they take up DisCOW instead of their MOO-grass music.

Leave it all to us, the cows tell Esme and Billy as they send them back to the farm and embark on their new career.

DisCOW music as delivered by Nutmeg and Celery is a huge success and they play to packed houses.

What of that fortune they’ve been promised? It seems Smarm is nothing but an exploiter who has no intention of handing over the money they’ve earned.

After almost thirty performances the two conclude it’s time to go  home and they return without a single coin.

Undaunted and determined to raise the money for the new roof, the cows decide to do it their way and so, with the help of Billy and Esme, a brand new kind of music festival is announced.

Will the animals raise sufficient funds for the much-needed repair to that barn? What do you think?

Full of MOO-puns and craziness, Heather and Barbara’s teamwork has created a satisfying tale of determination and cooperation that will be a hit with young listeners.

The Pirate Who Lost His Name
Lou Treleaven and Genie Espinosa
Maverick Publishing

Lou Treleaven and Genie Espinosa’s take on the seemingly ever-popular pirate tale features a very forgetful piratical character.

So bad is his memory that, despite having all the other necessary pirate requirements, he’s forgotten his own name.

His pirate pals all have suitable names but the nameless pirate is too embarrassed to ask them for help so instead he sets out on a quest to find his name. The journey takes him to several possible memory-jogging locations but neither the Captain Dreamboat’s residence, nor Captain Anorak’s Collector’s Cave can help; not even Pirate Lop-It-Off’s barber shop yields what he needs.

Our nameless pirate despairs. Then his parrot lets him know he’s hungry so they stop and buy some seed at Pirate Duff’s on the way home.

There the name forgetter learns that on his previous visit, he’d left behind his pirate membership card; I wonder what he might find written thereon?

That isn’t quite the end of Lou’s rollicking tale but let’s not spoil the surprise throwaway finale, which will likely make young listeners squawk with delight. They’ll also delight in Genie Espinosa’s zany, larger than life characters executed with a super-bright colour palette.

Not Yet a Yeti / Froggy Day

Not Yet a Yeti
Lou Treleaven and Tony Neal
Maverick Publishing

High up in the snowy mountains live George and his family.

All George’s family are yetis: “When will I be a yeti?” the little creature asks.

Having consulted in turn, his grandfather, his dad, his big sister and his mum, George concludes that he lacks the necessary qualities for full yeti status. He has no desire to terrorise visitors to the mountain,

leave scary footprints in the snow (his feet are too small anyway), or chase ramblers like other family members.

Suddenly George knows what he wants to be …

Lo and behold as he speaks, a horn grows from his forehead, his limbs grow hooves and he acquires a swishy tail and mane.

Alarmed, Mum consults Dad and a compromise is reached: after all if his other family members continue eating hikers, the human race faces extinction.

An offbeat tale of having the courage to be yourself and acceptance that manages to include the creature that seems to be every young child’s favourite at present – the unicorn. For this reason, if nothing else, it’s likely to become a crowd pleaser. Tony Neal’s entire family of yetis are, despite their claims, thoroughly unscary and totally likeable creatures as is George himself.

Froggy Day
Heather Pindar and Barbara Bakos
Maverick Publishing

Imagine watching the weather forecast on the TV and being told “Today is going to be froggy, very froggy!” by the forecaster. That however is what happens in Heather Pindar and Barabara Bakos’ zany book.

No sooner are the words out of her mouth than chaos descends in the form of little green amphibians. They create havoc in the streets, on the bus, the supermarket is over-run with the creatures,

the building site workers are totally bemused, animals stampede and frog horns boom out warning the sailors at sea.
There isn’t a single place in town without an invasion of frogs – imagine the uproar in the classroom.

Then comes the evening weather forecast: now what might that hold in store, I wonder …

Crazy as Heather’s tale may sound, I was once in Udaipur, Rajasthan during the monsoon season and as we emerged from a café into sudden torrential rain, it did seem as though it was raining frogs: the tiny creatures (not green ones but brown) fell in thousands from the rooftops of all the buildings. Goodness knows how they got up there in the first place but the sight was truly bizarre.

Heather Pindar’s play on words is a great starting point for her gigglesome story and Barbara’s illustrations of the frogs’ frolics are a real hoot.

Rooster Wore Skinny jeans

Rooster Wore Skinny Jeans
Jessie Miller and Barbara Bakos
Maverick Arts Publishing

Be yourself and if that means wearing skinny jeans that make you the butt of jokes from your farmyard friends then so be it.

That’s the conclusion the resident rooster of Rosemary Mill farm comes to after strutting his stuff in his newly delivered denims with their gold stitching, and being on the receiving end of the other animals’ cutting comments.

Having run for cover and taken stock of himself in his skinnies,

the rooster decides to cock a snook at those micky takers – with surprising results.

Jessie Miller’s unfaltering rhyme rollicks along with a sparkle to match the stitching on Rooster’s jeans and if my audiences’ reactions are anything to go by, she has a winner here.

Exuberantly executed scenes of the rooster hero sporting his new purchase brought on fits of giggles from my listeners, young

and not so young; and I suspect adult readers aloud will be rushing to the nearest mirror in their skinnies to see how their rear view compares with fashionista, Rooster’s.