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MUSK OX COUNTS by Erin Cabatingan


by Erin Cabatingan ; illustrated by Matthew Myers

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 3rd, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-59643-798-2
Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

More crazy hijinks from the irrepressible musk ox and his sidekick control-freak zebra will engender belly laughs in Cabatingan and Myers’ highly original sequel to the wild and wacky alphabet book A Is for Musk Ox (2012).

Zebra’s efforts to establish traditional counting-book order are foiled right from the first page as the musk ox is seen disappearing from his prescribed position as “1 musk ox.” Things only gets more zany on 2, where he is pictured consorting with two fetching female yaks, thereby ruining the concept of 2 by inserting himself as a third animal. By 4, he is again hijacking poor zebra’s concept, scaring away the 4 birds and replacing them with the less-attractive 4 stomachs (“just like cows”). More ridiculous scenarios bedevil the animals’ futile attempt to complete the counting series. Six snails have been eaten by the four birds that the musk ox scared away; 10 dogs run away, leaving zebra and musk ox using their eight legs plus two heads to make up the number. This approach is deliberately challenging and will only work for children who are already completely comfortable with counting; those who are not will likely find this terminally confusing.

Those kids ready to wrap their heads around musk ox’s anarchic approach, though, will likely find their (singular) stomachs sore from laughing. (Picture book. 5-8)