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1, 2 AT THE ZOO by Sue DiCicco


by Sue DiCicco, illustrated by Sue DiCicco

Age Range: 1 - 3

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-545-43239-9
Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Only going up to the number two, this is a minimalist counting book with gatefold flaps.

Set at the zoo, each left-hand page features a close-up of one segment of an animal. The right-hand page shows two of the same creature, and behind a gatefold, each duo is fully depicted in their zoo habitat. The giraffe page shows one giraffe neck, then two giraffe heads next and finally, behind a flap that opens vertically, two giraffes munching on leaves. The penultimate flap reveals two elephants in an oversized foldout page. In the final, four-panel spread, a Caucasian mother and her child are seen visiting the zoo. To focus on counting only up to two is refreshingly age-appropriate, though some of the other choices as to what to count seem illogical and counterintuitive. Why count only one penguin foot? Several of the close-ups are strangely cropped, making them hard for readers to identify. The book design, with thinner-than-normal board-book pages, is helpful for toddlers transitioning to paper books. DiCicco’s cheery colors and smooth lines give the book a soft focus. The companion book, 1, 2, 3 in the Sea, takes the counting up to three, but it is even more confusing in its page layout and choice of close-up images.

While there are some appropriate and amusing features here, some of the author’s choices don’t add up. (Board book. 1-3)