Review of Yes & No

Yes & No
by Elisha Cooper; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary    Roaring Brook    40 pp.    g
4/21    978-1-250-25733-8    $18.99

Cooper brings readers the sweet tale of a cat and a dog, different as can be, illustrated in the same unfussy, ­minimalistic style as his Caldecott Honor–­winning Big Cat, Little Cat (rev. 3/17). The story kicks off in the morning, during which an unseen narrator talks to the pets, who are yin and yang opposites. Their short responses are printed next to each pet (italic type for the cat, roman type for the dog), the jaded cat responding with countless nos and the enthusiastic dog answering with every kind of yes. The question “Are you both excited for the day?” is met with an eager ­affirmative from the dog, while the cat responds, “Hmpff.” Cooper’s ­variations on the responses and the creative ways he ­captures the pets’ personalities with loose-lined, gestural illustrations in warm watercolors propel the story. After they are shooed out of the house and told to “look out for each other,” we are treated to four expansive and eloquent wordless spreads in which the two climb a nearby hill and, side by side, take in the exhilarating view of a lake and mountains. Dog lovers everywhere will recognize the sad “Nooooo” howled when it’s time for the pets to come inside at day’s end. Yes, indeed.

From the May/June 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Julie Danielson
Julie Danielson
Julie Danielson writes about picture books at the blog Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. She also writes for Kirkus Reviews and BookPage and is a lecturer for the School of Information Sciences graduate program at the University of Tennessee. Her book Wild Things!: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature, written with Betsy Bird and Peter D. Sieruta, was published in 2014.

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