Review Blog

Dec 08 2015

Cockatoo, too by Bethanie Deeney Murguia

cover image

Five Mile Press, 2015 ISBN 9781760401047
(Age: 4-8) Highly recommended. Humour, Birds, Numbers, Word play. This is a laugh from start to finish as two cockatoos play with the words, 'too' and 'two'. Suddenly two more cockatoos fly down, wearing tutus. So the joke continues with too, two and tutu. Just when the readers think they have it all sorted, a parcel arrives with 'to cockatoos' on it, giving a different 'too' to play with, say out loud and think about. Happily dressed in their tutus, the four cockatoos see four toucans arrive, dressed in their tutus ready to can can.
The playful look at familiar words and their meanings will have children laughing out loud as the story is read. The gentle use of the word 'too' in many different ways will expose the readers to different meanings and sounds of the same word. And the addition of can at the end rounds off a neatly presented word play picture book.
I love the vibrant illustrations, with the water colour recreating the jungle background and deft strokes adding a few flowers. The cockatoos and toucans have distinctive features inviting readers to think about their differences, and the endpapers will intrigue the readers wanting to seek out the almost hidden features.
A wonderful read a loud, the tongue twisting emphasis on the word 'too' will delight readers, impelling them to have a go. What a wonderful way to introduce the English language with its sometimes confusing words to a young audience, using humour and illustration to great effect. A New York author/illustrator, more about Bethanie can be found here.
Fran Knight

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