Ready for a riotous read-aloud? When they hear the title: "Z is for Moose," youngsters will indignantly declare "no it's not!" Soon, however, they'll be laughing at the antics of this alphabet interloper.
Zebra, wearing a black-and-white striped referee shirt, is the director of an alphabet show. It's clear Moose is a most eager player as early as the endpapers, where he's shown gleefully lifting up the purple curtain to peek at the reader/audience.
He restrains himself for a few pages. But then, Duck is shown nudged to the background and Moose happily stands beneath the banner: "D is for Moose."
Zebra gets mad. Moose bumbles in and out of the next few pages asking: "Is it my turn yet?"
The real trouble begins on the "M" page when Moose discovers that Zebra has used Mouse instead.
He goes ballistic, smashing Pie, knocking over the Queen in her throne, scaring off Owl. He grabs a crayon and commits acts of grafitti, until Zebra puts his body in between Moose and the other actors.
Moose's rage turns to sobs. Zebra softens and there's a sweet surprise ending. We find out that Z really can be for Moose – "Zebra's friend, Moose."
Hilarity, a tender message about friendship, marvelous illustrations – this one's a winner.
Kelly Bingham wrote Shark Girl, which was named a Best Book for Young Adults. Paul O. Zelinsky has illustrated a long list of picture books, including Rapunzel (won the Caldecott Medal); Rumpelstiltskin and Hansel and Gretel (both Caldecott Honors); Swamp Angel, and the classic interactive book The Wheels on the Bus.
– Rebecca Young