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“Pity poor Rooster — he has a terrible sore throat, his tail feathers are drooping, and he can’t possibly do his doodle-doo to get the farm going in the morning. With whispers and coughing, he wakes up each set of animals on the farm and they all go on to the next unhappy group until they reach the farmhouse to wake the farmer by forming an animal pyramid up to his window. Since Farmer Ted is now hopelessly behind in his chores, he receives help from all the animals in quite hilarious ways, while Rooster rests in a lawn chair by the pond, sipping tea with honey to help his throat. Rostoker-Gruber has created a farm-animal story in the best tradition of cumulative tales but with the added spice of deadpan humor, groan-worthy puns, and witty dialogue appropriate to each species. The delightful illustrations are full of funny facial expressions and clever details that will have both children and adults giggling. Rooster might be under the weather, but his well-written story leaves the reader feeling just fine.”
— Kirkus Review
“Another trauma about not being able to do one’s barnyard job comes in Rooster Can’t . . . by Karen Rostoker-Gruber and illustrated by Paul Ratz de Tagyos (Dial Books for Young Readers). Rooster wakes up with a sore throat and fears the whole farm’s work and production schedule will be thrown off if he doesn’t wake everyone up. “How will you wake up Farmer Ted without doodle-dooing?” ask the sleepy chickens. “Maybe the cows will know,” says the Rooster.
Thus starts the pattern, as the critters go from the cows to the sheep to the pigs, each group adding to the procession to the farmer’s house. By the time they get there, the day’s half gone and the only way the chores can get done by sundown is if everyone pitches in. It’s fun to see the chickens milk the cows, the pigs shear the sheep and so on.”
— San Francisco Chronicle
“Rooster wakes up with a sore throat and a big problem. How will the chores get done if he can’t crow and wake up Farmer Ted? He manages to rouse the other animals
(“COUGH! COUGH!”), hoping they can help; but while everyone is quick with the puns (Hens: “You look eggz-hausted.” Cows: “How udder-ly frustrating.” Pigs: That’s a muddy big problem!), no one has a solution. The comical pencil ink, and marker illustrations make the most of the farmyard crisis; expressive use of line and varied perspectives extend the text’s droll humor and give the cartoon-like animals personality plus. As the color-drenched sky changes from a pre-dawn to a mid-morning blue, the tenion mounts. Thanks to a noisily formed animal pyramid, which allows Rooster to reach the third floor bedroom to a window, Farmer Ted is finally awake, but “he’s never going to finish the chores before sunset.” Or will he? In the spirit of cooperation (and to prevent the cows’ milk from curdling and the pigs from starving), all the animals pitch in to get the jobs done (with a lot of fooling around along the way). This udder-ly charming books is worth some story-hour crowing.”
— The Horn Book Magazine
“Silenced by a sore throat, Rooster is unable to wake up Farmer Ted. The bird rouses the hens with a “Cough!” and they join him to awaken the cows, summon the sheep, and then wake up the pigs. Together, the animals implement a plan to get Farmer Ted out of bed. Once this is accomplished, he needs help to finish the chores before day’s end. After the Farmer brews warm tea and honey to soothe Rooster’s sore throat, the rest of the gang assists him with the milking, feeding, egg gathering, and shearing. By sunset, the work is finished and Rooster has regained his crow. The story moves quickly and the text is packed with amusing puns. Cleanly executed in pencil, ink, marker, and colored pencil, the brightly colored, realistic cartoons add humor the the story. The pigs especially are real hams as they go about their share of the labor. The large size and simplicity of the drawings will work well for groups. -Carolyn Janssen, Children’s Learning Center of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.”
— School Library Journal
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