The Emberleys’ romp joins the heavily populated field of titles loosely based on common childhood rhymes.
Abstract monsters created in mostly black and white cavort against vibrant backgrounds. As the group gathers, the counting begins: “One little / two little / three little beasties..,” Once all 10 are assembled, they dance for one spread. Turn the page—surprise—one beastie gobbles up another. And so the carnivorous countdown commences. Counting up to 10 and back down again is nothing new. What grabs readers here are the primitive-looking beasties populating the pages. Each beast has some unique identifiable shape or special additional colors: One has a striped horn, one flashes a blue zippered mouth and one sports an elaborate white spiral on its body. This helps in keeping track of the creatures for counting purposes, but that task is often challenging, as some spreads only show parts of a beastie. As most concept books are aimed squarely at preschoolers, this effort may suffer from audience confusion; it could be difficult finding readers who have the patience to puzzle it out. The cover urges readers to “download the song and read along!” At the time of this review, the link was not available.
Perhaps the audio addition will add some much-needed magic to this dizzying outing, but as a stand-alone book, this offers little appeal. (Picture book. 2-5)