Lynn: A favorite topics for board books and babies’ toys is animal sounds. “What does a dog say?” we ask a delighted baby. Animal sounds are one of the first things young children learn—so what could be funnier than having a dog say “Neigh” or a cat say “Baa”?
Suzi Moore takes full advantage of this simple concept in Whoops! (2016), a giggle-inducing picture book that plays with a child’s delight in upending a firmly grasped fact. After all, dogs do not neigh, eyes do not hear, and pigeons do not drive buses, so it is very funny when they do. Whoops! features three animals who don’t know how to make their sounds. A wise, old owl sends the trio to an old lady in a tumbledown house. She happily consults her book of spells.
The wind blew in, and the rain came down. Then the tumble down house turned around and around.
But whoops! The sounds the three animals make are all wrong. The old lady gamely keeps trying, but the hilarity only increases as the situation goes from bad to worse. Illustrator Russell Ayto adds to the fun with spacious pages and geometrically shaped characters. Vividly colored backgrounds put the focus on the characters and the action. I especially loved the changing hair color of the little old lady. A very funny surprise twist will have little readers saying “Whoops!” and begging for repeat readings.