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ONE CHEETAH, ONE CHERRY

A BOOK OF BEAUTIFUL NUMBERS

The aesthetic pleasures are very strong, but one-on-one adult guidance will be necessary to help young mathematicians make...

Exquisite watercolor-and–gold-leaf paintings of animals and objects that look as if they tumbled out of medieval illuminated manuscripts distinguish this counting book.

The book starts off simply enough: “One cherry, one cheetah.” A background of textured gold and bluish-purple, embellished with biomorphic designs, completes the spread. Two regal dogs appear, with “two balls, one big, one small.” “Three bears, three bowls, three silver spoons” follow, but why are there just three berries to go along with “four fine foxes, sharing strawberries.” The seven giant pandas have only five parasols. Then the book really breaks the mold. Now there are “Ten cherries, one cheetah.” Those dark red, glistening cherries look good enough to eat; the last page shows the sated cheetah, with 10 cherry pits neatly lined up, and the text reads: “No cherries, one cheetah. / None, all gone.” But the cheetah is still here. The front endpapers display unordered floating numerals (1 through 10), the cheetah, and the cherry, but no other numerals appear until the end. A chart showing the numerals and the associated flora or fauna (with cherry but sans cheetah) is found on the back endpapers. These pictures differ slightly from the inside pages, and sometimes the attendant objects are omitted.

The aesthetic pleasures are very strong, but one-on-one adult guidance will be necessary to help young mathematicians make sense of these complex images. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-91095-928-2

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Otter-Barry

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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LUCY'S LIGHT

Too many bugs, figuratively.

Lucy, “the youngest member of a family of fireflies,” must overcome an irrational, moon-induced anxiety in order to leave her family tree trunk and glow.

The first six pages pull readers into a lush, beautiful world of nighttime: “When the sun has set, silence falls over the Big Forest, and all of the nighttime animals wake up.” Mixed media provide an enchanting forest background, with stylized flora and fauna eventually illuminated by a large, benign moon, because the night “doesn’t like to catch them by surprise.” Turning the page catches readers by surprise, though: the family of fireflies is decidedly comical and silly-looking. Similarly, the text moves from a lulling, magical cadence to a distinct shift in mood as the bugs ready themselves for their foray into the night: “They wave their bottoms in the air, wiggle their feelers, take a deep, deep breath, and sing, ‘Here we go, it’s time to glow!’ ” It’s an acceptable change, but more unevenness follows. Lucy’s excitement about finally joining the other bugs turns to “sobbing” two nights in a row. Instead of directly linking her behavior to understandable reactions of children to newness, the text undermines itself by making Lucy’s parents’ sweet reassurances impotent and using the grandmother’s scientific explanation of moonlight as an unnecessary metaphor. Further detracting from the story, the text becomes ever denser and more complex over the book’s short span.

Too many bugs, figuratively. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-84-16147-00-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cuento de Luz

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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