Beep, Beep, Maisy is an expansion on the work of author and illustrator Lucy Cousins. Already holding over fifty titles, the Maisy Mouse series includes both picture books and a television program which detail the lives of Maisy and her animal friends. This board book, published on September 5th, is the most recent addition to the collection.
Characteristic of the other Maisy books, this solid paperboard book features a limited deep, solid color palette with thick black outlines. The flaps on each page allow a child, typically 18 months or older, to engage in the book along with their caregiver. The story begins with Maisy finishing up at the gas station and then going for a car ride through her town.
Along the way, she encounters Charley, Dotty, Peacock, Ostrich, Eddie, Tallulah, and Cyril. Each page includes Maisy taking note of the mode of transportation utilized by her neighbor, whether it’s a helicopter, fire engine, or bicycle. She then greets them with a “beep, beep!” from her horn, and is met with a different onomatopoetic sound from each kind of vehicle: a “nee-ah, nee-ah!” from the fire engine, for example, or a “honk honk!” from the bus.
The story concludes with a surprise traffic jam, which causes all of the neighbors to line the street with their noisy contraptions. Each sound is pictured with its respective vehicle in the order that Maisy met them, and the characters are seen getting out of their buses and trucks to interact with one another.
This book is perfect for the targeted one-and-a-half-and-up-bracket, as it could be used much longer than the beginning toddler stage. The deep greens, blues, and reds help the book to be both calming and entertaining, making it useful for anything from a bedtime story to a read-aloud. Children familiar with the Maisy Mouse series might be excited to see familiar faces in the book, but its simple plot line is also easily accessible for children who are new to the story. The sounds in the book provide another great avenue for entertainment- a mild-mannered “beep-beep!” followed by a whirring, rapid-fire “chop-chop-chop-chop!” would be sure to keep kids on their toes.
The flaps in the book also provide for an expandable age range. While a toddler still developing sensory motor skills might enjoy pulling the flaps down, an older child might enjoy seeing how they connect to the other pictures or hold surprises. A flap on Cyril’s bus, for instance, includes an adorable family of top-hat-wearing turtles. The flaps could also interest children in how machinery works: several flaps include smoke coming out of smokestacks, or give a peek into an engine or how a helicopter’s blades rotate. These flaps are also noteworthy for their detail: the illustrations extend onto the reverse side of the flap, so that the entire paper is encompassed into the picture. This allows for special actions and processes to be shown: the cloud has raindrops sprinkling out of it, or the ladder on the fire truck really does expand.
This book provides examples of friendliness, through Maisy’s greetings, and patience, through the traffic jam in the conclusion. Its depth ensures that it may be read many times over, and it is sure to be loved by a wide range of ages, from Maisy fans to newcomers alike.