Can U Save the Day? – Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

Want a sure-fire read aloud—perhaps a sure-fire sing aloud? Look no further.

What would happen if consonants suddenly thought they ruled the alphabet, and told those poor little vowels they weren’t important?

The Letter B gets on his high horse and informs the first vowel, A:

There are 5 vowels in your group

but 21 in our grand troop.

I’m a more important letter.

Consonants are so….much….BETTER!

Well, you’re darn tootin’ that ol’ A isn’t gonna take the insult lying down. No siree. Ol’ A high tails it out of dodge. And then things get “a little weird.”

The dog can only “brk.” The duck can only “quck.” And the frog can only “crok.”

Of course, the horse has no sympathy for these critters. He just laughs and says:

Neigh! Who needs the A?

And turned his back to eat some hay.

Then the letter E has had it with the rude comments, and disappears….leaving the horse to change his tune, “Nigh.”

I burst out laughing when I came to the page with the birds and sheep.

Text ⓒShannon Ottostocker IllustrationsⓒTom Disbury

The consonants bust a gut listening to the cacophony, too. And well, the letter I isn’t going to stand around and take it.

I spins off like an astronaut, leaving the horse with a mouthful of consonants.

When the horse can only “Ngh” and the pig “onk,” it’s cow’s turn to laugh at everyone else—until the “O” packs up to go. “Mmmmmm,” says cow. And the rooster? Well, try saying “cck-ddl-d” if you can. Better yet, ask a room full of kids to make all these animal sounds without the vowels.

I won’t spoil the ending, but suffice to say, the letter U does indeed save the day. And the final surprise is so good, you’ll wonder why you didn’t see it coming. Kind of like that tractor bearing down at you from across the field.

Shannon’s meter scans well on the first read-through, a blessing for those who read rhyming picture books aloud. Kudos to the illustrator, Tom Disbury. The expressive anthropomorphic letters look right at home next to the panicked farm animals.

A highly recommended read aloud.

Resources/Activities:

Sing along with Can U Save the Day?

Think of other words that describe sounds. How would the sounds change if the vowels were missing?

Write a sentence using only consonants, and see if you can figure out what it says. Now do the same with vowels. Which one is more difficult to read?

Pair this book with Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham.

Title: Can U Save the Day?

Author: Shannon Ottostocker

Illustrator: Tome Disbury

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press, 2019

Themes: alphabet family, hubris, wordplay

For more perfect picture book recommendations visit Susanna Hill’s blog.

26 thoughts on “Can U Save the Day? – Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

  1. Sarah Tobias says:

    This looks really cute. I feel like it would pair well with Tara Lazar’s 7 Ate 9 and her new one The Upper Case: Trouble in Capital City.

    Can’t wait to check it out.

  2. FictionFan says:

    I’m delighted U turned out to be the hero after the centuries of persecution and neglect it has suffered at the hands of cruel, uncaring Americans. The book sounds full of humoUr, and the pictures are nicely coloUred!

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