Rollicking counting fun takes place in a swamp like no other. When a little girl decides to go polling in the swamp, she has no idea of the passengers she will soon acquire . . . all of them uninvited and unwelcome. But as the guests figure, "If you got room for one, you got room for two." So possum, skunk, frog, muskrat, heron, coon, beaver, and otter all join the boat, which soon has not a spare inch of room left. But no counting book stops at just nine, and this one is no exception. Suddenly a looming gator makes ten—all double-paged spread of him, getting bigger and bigger, "a smilin' / a slinkin' / a-blinky-blanky-winkin'." But where will he fit? No problem. The boat may not have room for gator, but gator certainly has room for all of its annoying passengers. In the twisted ending, the little girl is at last free to continue her journey. Alone. Booth's uproarious watercolors leave just enough of a suggestion that the animals escaped being lunch to make the ending humorous and there hasn't been a gator like this one in a long time. Fleming's (A Big Cheese for the White House
, 1999, etc.) sense of rhythm and rhyme make this a great read-aloud and the combination of author and illustrator count up to big fun. Pair this with Nancy Van Laan's Possum Come a-Knockin'
(1990) and April Wayland's It's Not My Turn to Look for Grandma
(1995) for an all-Booth extravaganza. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >