WILL YOU COUNT THE STARS WITHOUT ME? by Jane Breskin Zalben

WILL YOU COUNT THE STARS WITHOUT ME?

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Shana (f.) and Saba (m.), a fond monkey pair, are separated for the first time when excess rain on their tropical island reduces the food supply (don't question this too closely) and Shana sets off in a boat to find emergency rations (as we were saying. . .). That leaves Saba alone and lonely--and brings us quickly to the high point of this jungle valentine, Saba's titular reverie (""Will you count the stars without me?"") the first night he beds down in an empty nest. For the rest, he's cajoled by hippos Otto and Lilly into helping them dig; persuaded by Cecil elephant ""to carve a weathervane out of an old coconut shell into the shape of a banana""; and variously induced to occupy himself--until, upon Shana's return (with baskets of oranges and bananas), he's proven, as she has, that he can take care of himself. Once or twice Zalben's illustrations transcend both the story and the archness she substitutes for an ability to draw (that starry reverie, the animals companionably lounging on a beach); but the smidgen of authentic feeling is largely overborne by extraneous whimsy and lax, meaningless plotting.

Pub Date: Sept. 24th, 1979
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux