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CHICKA CHICKA 1, 2, 3 by Bill Martin Jr.


by Bill Martin Jr. & Michael Sampson & illustrated by Lois Ehlert

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-689-85881-7
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Is nothing sacred? This misbegotten attempt to cash in on one of the great alphabet books of the modern age reunites two of the three creators of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, 15 years after it exploded onto the scene. In this outing, a series of numbers from 1 to 99 climb an apple tree as all the while a plaintive voice—a pallid shadow of the robust refrain of the original—emanates from a meek little 0 in the corner: “Chicka chicka 1, 2, 3 . . . will there be a place for me?” Ehlert gamely tries to reproduce the graphic genius of the earlier work, but is hampered by the lack of a story with visual punch: instead of tumbling out of an overloaded coconut tree, these numbers are chased one by one out of the apple tree by a couple of bees. The count-up and then -down lack both narrative and numeric logic, going by ones to 20 and then by tens to 90, and finishing, inexplicably, with 99. When at last 0 realizes its destiny and climbs the tree to join 10—who has lingered—to form 100, the arbitrariness, and thankfully the book, is complete. What’s next: Where the Wild Things Went? (Picture book. 3-7)