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PARTY ANIMALS by Katie Davis


by Katie Davis & illustrated by Katie Davis

Age Range: 2 - 5

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-15-216675-0
Publisher: Harcourt

Here lies the key to making counting festive: tally the guests at a barnyard bash. Start with one blue ant—who has not received an invitation—and make your way to 12 black sheep. Ant appears throughout, prying and pondering his exclusion from the party preparations. In the end, Ant has not been forgotten—the celebration is his birthday surprise. Each two-page spread contains one sentence with uniform structure, including numeration and identification of the color and breed of animal. The text, such as “Eleven chartreuse chicks cheeping ‘Goo-goo, gaa-gaa,’ and making eggshell salad for the party,” is best used to encourage dialogue as young readers explore the illustrations. Davis’s (Scared Stiff, 2001, etc.) vividly colored, acrylic paint-and-pen illustrations are filled with large, bright, rounded animals as focal points. Mainly, the images are a mirror reflection of the supplied description, with the appropriate number of creatures engaged in the appropriate activity. Mature puns and one-liners appear in text bubbles, most often issuing from Ant; as these are central to the understanding that Ant is in the dark about the party plans (he is not mentioned past page one), this aspect of the plot may be confusing to some readers. Although bursting with color, but not much ingenuity, this is a useful aid for those teaching numbers and colors, and a charming work with a jolly tone that will keep small children engaged. (Picture book. 2-5)