Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Cuckoo! by Fiona Roberton

Cuckoo! is an innocent little story that promises noisy fun and a sweet as can be main character. It's about a little chick who's also chic in his grey, black and white. Not long after he hatches from his egg the other chicks realise that he speaks differently from them and they can't understand a word he's saying. More specifically, he says 'cuckoo' and they say 'Tootooweet'. It all gets too confusing and the story unfolds as Cuckoo goes in search of someone who can understand him.

His search leads him to some entertaining encounters with a parade of animals who all speak different languages (i.e. make different sounds), but none of them speaks the same as him.  He even tries a stint at a language school to learn to speak like the other animals but that doesn't work out either. Disappointed and exhausted he seeks refuge on a rooftop when he hears the sound of 'cuckoo'.  It eventually leads him to a baby and his toy Cuckoo. It's a big movie moment when the baby looks at him and says 'cuckoo' and he is finally understood.

This is a tale about being different and being accepted.  It will get you making lots and lots of animal noises when read aloud, although I think my favorite is the rabbit twosome who communicate by thumping their feet. E may not have grasped the parallelism of the baby's toy cuckoo but he understood that Cuckoo made a different noise from everyone else and that in the end the baby is able to understand him. His final word on it all: 'that baby is Cuckoo's friend!'. I think that pretty much sums it up!

Give Cuckoo! a look along with some of Roberton's other titles: The Perfect Present and Wanted: The Perfect Pet. Her illustrations are fresh, modern and so very pleasing to the eye.

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