"Sorry (Really Sorry)!"

Joanna Cotler scores with a book about how contagious moods can be — bad or good. In “Sorry (Really Sorry)” the barnyard’s in a snit, all because of a Holstein that’s cranky because she has dirty hooves.

Duck bears the brunt of the outburst, her mood souring when cow kicks mud at her. Irritated beyond quacks, Duck berates Frog, calling the amphibian “ . . . (a) gross green glob!” when Frog asks Duck to join him in a swim.

The chain of cussedness continues with Frog insulting Bird, Bird upsetting Goat, and Goat bashing into Pig’s hind end with his snout, causing Pig to erupt into “big, loud, honking snorts” that bring Brown Dog over to console her, only to have Pig exclaim, “Go away! I don’t even like you.”

Nothing could be further from the truth, as the wise dog knows. The loyal friend sits by Pig’s side allowing the porker to feel her feelings before giving Pig a big, sloppy lick.

The pup’s kindness reverses Pig’s angst and has a domino effect. Each barnyard animal and bird offer an apology to the buddy they’ve berated, ending with a surprise that’s clever as can be.

“Sorry (Really Sorry)” will have widespread appeal, not only for its engaging story, but also for its illustrations by Harry Bliss. His pastoral scenes feel down home, and his animals brim with varying emotions, further enhancing this message-driven book.

Preschool to third grade