Young imaginations are tempted in this counting book that invites readers to invent stories to go along with illustrations and captions, sort of a version of Chris Van Allsburg's The Mysteries of Harris Burdick (1984), with its sinister quality counterbalanced by greeting-card pretty double-page spreads. The book opens on a scene in a cottage strongly suggestive of the story of the three bears and Goldilocks: Appearing are three bowls of porridge (one empty), three chairs (one knocked over), an open door, and a caption--""The only sounds were the crackling of the fire and a muffled thump from the window seat."" Other settings include a kitten with a fish tank, a toy shop where ""as soon as it was dark, the mischief began again""; a marionette stage; a boy's bedroom; an attic; a teddy bears' picnic; a bunny in a cabbage patch longing to go to sea; a beach; and, finally, a Cinderella-style coach on its way to a castle as a group of fairies emerge from a grape arbor. Objects repeated in the margins lead children through a counting lesson. The soft pictures have appeal.