Photographs of salad ingredients, embellished with details done in black ink, create whimsical arrays from one through 10.
Each expansive, white double-page spread presents a large, bright numeral, its printed name, and a very funny invention, from one Avocado Deer to 10 Clementine Kitties. The ink strokes are playful and active, making the various ingredient-characters come to life. The pages with nine Romaine Dogs are particularly droll, with clever usage of the ups and downs of a lettuce leaf combining with the artist’s swift pen strokes to show familiar canine antics. Less is decidedly more: after the alliteration of Tomato Turtles, it is refreshing to see Cucumber Alligators rather than Cucumber Crocodiles, and the text for the number eight meanders cheerfully from the established, animal-titling routine by showing eight Flying Walnuts, not Walnut Birds. The ingredients range from familiar to gourmet, with radicchio producing delightful manes on seven lions. Toddlers may giggle as they learn numbers and practice counting, while slightly older children will want to get out their markers and try to emulate the artwork. The counting ends gracefully with a wooden bowl full of all 10 goodies and a recipe for dressing. Even the endpapers are entertaining, crammed with tiny reproductions of the photographs.
From layout to text to artwork, this counting book takes “playing with your food” to a new level. (Picture book. 2-4)