Joy Cowley adds a third title to her popular series of beginning chapter books: Agapanthus Hum and the Angel Hoot, illus. by Jennifer Plecas. Here, Agapanthus loses her "woggly" front tooth, transforming her trademark hum, and her father dubs the sound an "angel hoot." Together, the heroine and her pooch, Major Bark, perform their "hoot-and-howl act" for Show-and-Tell. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Readers will be delighted with the third tale about the bespectacled and loveable Agapanthus and her faithful dog, Major Bark. In this story, Agapanthus loses her first tooth and joyfully cries, "Congratulations, me! I am growing up." Charmed by her new look and her new smile, she dances and sings about trying to hum like a bumblebee. Rather than a hum, Agapanthus makes a unique sound that her father calls an "angel hoot...(the way) angels call to each other on a wild and windy day." The story continues as Agapanthus discovers that Major Bark enjoys sharing his own howl during her hoot to make a truly remarkable duet. It is this simple celebration of a missing tooth and the author's colorful language that hooks the reader into loving this book. Words like "woggly", "whizzy", and "fizzy" fill the book's pages, making the text read like a spectacular carnival ride. The accompanying illustrations also dance upon the pages making the reader wish for his or her own wild and windy day and angel hoot. This early reader chapter book is a treasure to any classroom or child. The spirit of Agapanthus is contagious! 2003, Philomel Books,
Andrea Sears Andrews
K-Gr 3-An angel hoot "is how angels call to each other." It is also the special sound made by friends when "woggly" teeth mutate into gaping holes. Agapanthus Hum and her dog Major Bark take their hoot-and-howl act to Miss Ryan's class where an argument about angels' wings erupts and the girl's words are "lost like a raisin in a pudding." Her reaction is an attention-getting demonstration of earsplitting, whistling resonance, which is met with stunned silence-and then, "Do it again!" The next few weeks result in hoots aplenty as friend Orville perfects his own version and Agapanthus revels in the possibilities of an even more astonishing rendition of the Hum and Bark hoot-and-howl, with two woggly teeth. Plecas captures the energy, expression, and charm in the diversity of children in Agapanthus Hum's school through simple, colorful pictures. The familiar topic, short chapters, frequent illustrations, and ample white space will appeal to beginning readers.-Mary Elam, Forman Elementary School, Plano, TX
Good little Mommy and good little Daddy are back with their irrepressible, growing daughter, Agapanthus Hum (Agapanthus Hum and the Eyeglasses, 1999; Agapanthus Hum and Major Bark, 2001). She has finally lost her first tooth and that wonderful gap between her remaining teeth allows her to make a wild, whistling noise. Her parents call it an Angel Hoot and even her dog, Major Bark, gets into the celebration by howling along every time he hears the sound. Soon, canine and human have their own little hoot-and-howl vaudeville act for Agapanthus's class at school. Cowley's genius with new readers is that she knows her audience. Loose teeth, growing up, friendships, animals, and school are all topics that fascinate young children. They long to be as joyous as Agapanthus, so they enjoy her exuberance, even when it goes over the top. Her teacher, Miss Ryan, good little Mommy, and good little Daddy are the perfect adults: they nod, they repair life's little accidents, they smile and wink, and mostly they stay blessedly out of the way. Plecas's light, colorful illustrations are the ideal foil for Cowley's world, with the heroine jumping right out of the background frames in her celebration of life. Major Bark comes into his own in the latest installment. He could very well join Gloria, of Officer Buckle fame, on the stage as he rolls on the floor and howls along with his beloved friend. A howling success. (Easy reader. 5-8)