Honk Honk! Baa Baa! By Petr Horáček (Walker Books 2013)
A book of animal noises is a must-have for babies. Lots of animal noises are much easier to try out than real words*, and more fun. There’s a great post here explaining why that is: ‘As a paediatric speech-language therapist, I often spend my days mooing. And baaing…’
I chose Honk Honk! Baa Baa! because the animals are big and bright and it’s utterly straightforward. Each double page simply says ‘Baa baa goes the sheep’ or ‘Moo moo goes the cow’. All you need, really. No extraneous stuff about what the animal eats or does or where it lives. Just an animal to pat or point at and a noise to make.
The front cover announces that this is a ‘flip-flap fun’ book but as there are no flaps to lift and peep under, just graduated-size pages inside, the fun is pretty much up to the baby reader and their tame adult. So don’t hold back with the baaing and mooing!
The illustrations are endearing – clear and full of character. They look like collages on vivid paint and crayoned backgrounds. You can still see the pencil lines around the cut-out goose on the cover. Wax-resist gives the sheep texture to its fleece. The cat looks cool and the dog eager.
I’d rather have a duck here than a goose, but that’s a quibble. Ducks seem to be infinitely fascinating to little children, and more familiar. Most baths have ducks floating round them and approximating a Quack-quack is easy.
Also there’s no recap page at the end featuring all seven animals – but with the graduated pages it’s easy to flip back and forth and revisit your favourites.
*One exception is an elephant noise. I’ve never managed to make that one, but my hopeless attempts – along with much arm/trunk waving – have always resulted in major giggles. It’s worth making a fool of yourself if you get children and parents on side. I wonder if the speech therapist mentioned above can help me out?