Reviewed by David Ashworth
From Maverick Publishing comes a new story by Heather Pindar (author of Froggy Day) and illustrator Barbara Bakos, the talented artist behind Little Bee and Top That! The MOOsic Makers tells of Celery and Nutmeg, two cows who love to entertain Farmer Joni with their musical talents. One day the roof of the farm is blown off and the two cows try to use their gifts to raise money to help Framer Joni, but soon enters the sleazy Mr Smarm with a promise to make Celery and Nutmeg rich and famous beyond their wildest dreams, there’s just one problem… they have to change their entire musical style!
The story on the surface is good fun and features numerous cow puns and music, but also conveys a wonderful message for children about staying true to yourself and not compromising your integrity for fame and fortune. It’s also a great message about using your talents for good and to help others, as well as messages of inclusion and friendship.
I do have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of the illustrations in The MOOsic Makers. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with them and Bakos’ hand drawn cartoony style is fun for the kids to explore, I did find a lot of the pages (particularly near the beginning of the book) to be quite dark in tone. Obviously, this is to represent the tone in this part of the story but I did find it a struggle to keep my little ones interested in these gloomy tones.
That said, this is still a great story for young children who love animals, music and silly cow puns and it does brighten up a bit towards the end and has some great moral messages which kids can easily identify and explore. The cow puns such as “moosic”, “discow” and “mootiny” all got big laughs and the story is fun for the kids.
Altogether, I did like this story but the illustrations weren’t to my personal taste and my kids didn’t respond to them as well as other children’s books from this publisher. The use of language in this book is heavily reliant on puns and word play but this didn’t distract from the tone or moral compass dictated by the story. Overall a great little tale but not one of my favourites, my kids did respond well to the language and word play though and found it really funny so I’d give it four out of five stars.