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

ONE CHEETAH, ONE CHERRY

A BOOK OF BEAUTIFUL NUMBERS

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. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history.

THE SCARECROW

Ferry and the Fans portray a popular seasonal character’s unlikely friendship.

Initially, the protagonist is shown in his solitary world: “Scarecrow stands alone and scares / the fox and deer, / the mice and crows. / It’s all he does. It’s all he knows.” His presence is effective; the animals stay outside the fenced-in fields, but the omniscient narrator laments the character’s lack of friends or places to go. Everything changes when a baby crow falls nearby. Breaking his pole so he can bend, the scarecrow picks it up, placing the creature in the bib of his overalls while singing a lullaby. Both abandon natural tendencies until the crow learns to fly—and thus departs. The aabb rhyme scheme flows reasonably well, propelling the narrative through fall, winter, and spring, when the mature crow returns with a mate to build a nest in the overalls bib that once was his home. The Fan brothers capture the emotional tenor of the seasons and the main character in their panoramic pencil, ballpoint, and digital compositions. Particularly poignant is the close-up of the scarecrow’s burlap face, his stitched mouth and leaf-rimmed head conveying such sadness after his companion goes. Some adults may wonder why the scarecrow seems to have only partial agency, but children will be tuned into the problem, gratified by the resolution.

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247576-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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