HOOTENANNY! by Kimberly Ainsworth


A Festive Counting Book
by & illustrated by
Age Range: 3 - 5
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There's a party tonight at the old oak tree, and one, two, three, four, five dancing owls bathe, put on special shoes and hats, collect their instruments and climb up to join the fun.

Mixed-media illustrations feature cartoon owls with a variety of clothing and accessories. Extending across each double-page spread, they show each bird preparing and then joining the group. Appropriate numbers appear as the group enlarges. Drawn on natural brown paper with colored pencils and painted with gouache in trendy colors, some images show the owls’ cozy homes, and some feature a background of an evening sky fading from pink to purple to deep blue. On the last spread, the numbered owls are framed by lights as if on stage. Each of the rap-beat couplets that count off the owls is introduced with a separate explanatory line that stops the flow: "A party's not a party without a happy tune. / 3 cool owls have got the beat. / Now they're ready to hit the street." Adults who try to read the book aloud may find it hard going, although the repetition of the “Hootenanny, hootenanny” chorus between each segment will invite listeners to chant along. This jazzy offering doesn’t quite fit its audience. Even if familiar with folk festivals, children just old enough to begin to associate numbers with objects will find that easier to do without these elaborate extra details.

Give this party a miss. (Picture book. 3-5)
Pub Date: Aug. 30th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4424-2273-5
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2011


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