Superstar children's author Sandra Boynton isn't mincing words of affirmation in her clever, uplifting picture book Woo Hoo! You're Doing Great!
The book opens on an assortment of Boynton's iconic animal characters looking nonplussed, including a hippo hiding under a bed. The animals' intense friend the chicken has a solution: "There's surely nothing more fantastic than someone who's enthusiastic!" The chicken proceeds to cheer the other animals on with a mighty "WOO HOO!" as a dog bakes, hippos and a mouse dance ballet, and a helmeted pig roller-skates. But when the yelling wakes a grumpy, napping bear, the mistake throws the feathered cheerleader into a tailspin of self-doubt. Luckily the mouse is quick to offer the chicken a soothing woohoo and a much-needed nap. As bear and bird snooze, the mouse breaks the fourth wall to offer readers a perceptive message of self-care: "I think perhaps the best WOO HOO.../ ...is the one you say each day to you."
Boynton's cartoonish animals stand out against solid color backgrounds with an abundance of charm, but even the top-hatted, tap-dancing rhinos can't outshine the story's gallinaceous protagonist. The chicken's volume is hilariously communicated through oversized lettering and a wide-open mouth the same height as its body. The frequent woohoos and sprightly rhymes should lend themselves well to boisterous read-aloud sessions. The self-care messaging may be affirming for little ones, but this buoyant, bolstering book could also make a perfect gift for adults struggling with burnout. Woo hoo for another Boynton winner! --Jaclyn Fulwood, youth experience manager, Dayton Metro Library