A distinctive animal alphabet presents a counting game.
The cover displays a large, shiny number eight. What does it mean? The author’s explanation on the title page’s verso provides the ebullient answer. “Why the number 8? Because 8 is great. Because 8 is round and adorable. Because 8 is fun to count to (move over, 10). Because 8 is not too big, and not so small, but just right. Because 8 is my favorite number.” So, if readers look closely at each page of animals, from A to Z, one of them appears eight times. On the A page, nine critters are listed at the bottom; among them is the ant, eight of which roam among single examples of aardvark, abalone, albatross, alligator, alpaca, anteater, antelope, and armadillo. Cooper’s loose watercolor images are arranged harmoniously against spacious white backgrounds. The number of animals depicted varies, with the lowest being one (X for xerus). There are surprises, as in the letter I, which presents ibex, ibis, iguana, impala, and inchworm. Readers might expect the animal to count eight times would be the inchworm, but actually, here it’s the iguana. A four-page legend in the back identifies each creature with a one-sentence, interesting fact: “Quolls use communal toilet areas.” Who knew? The heavy paper will withstand repeated viewings, which are guaranteed.
Don’t get behind the eight ball: order now; it’s great fun. (Picture book. 4-10)