Four animals, two shapes, and six items equal exponential fun.
This Australian import starts out as a simple rhyming concept book but quickly transforms into a zany free-for-all. The action begins when a goat wearing a fez climbs up onto a box. This angers a cat, who proceeds to hop in a car and drive around the goat in circles. Disinclined toward this kind of “silly stuff,” a fox then huffs away to sit on a square. Meanwhile, a bear sails a boat and antagonizes the fox. A crash sends the cat onto the box with the goat. After a brief spat, the fox (with the bear chasing angrily after it) soon follows. The ruckus ends in a cliffhanger: “Now they are up here … // How do they get down?” The smart, well-paced structure introduces objects and characters one by one. Each introduced noun appears in a larger-point font, a consistent way to mark these main ingredients as the story progresses in sentence-level complexity. Unlike the objects, the characters are also introduced with compound adjectives, such as “wild-looking one-eyed bear” or “pant-wearing fluffy-eared fox.” Krebs’ colorful, black-outlined cartoon illustrations pop against the white background and skillfully amplify the comedy in the text. With a total vocabulary of fewer than 120 words, the story functions as both read-aloud and intermediate early reader.
A rip-roaring, chuckle-inducing romp. (Picture book. 3-6)