“All the best things / come in three” burbles the twin-ponytailed Asian-American 3-year-old who narrates the rhyme.
The little girl is joined by a redheaded white boy with rosy cheeks and an African-American girl with a curly topknot. From three bears and three pigs to three primary colors (“Red, yellow, and blue”—each word in its proper hue), the text progresses to more nuanced concepts. Examples of learning about sharing, time-outs, and the occasional mess at dinner are tucked in. There’s some difficulty in accepting the language and activities as genuinely rising from 3-year-olds, though. The redheaded boy writes the first three letters of the alphabet neatly on a blackboard. The topknotted girl has a backpack with a Book of Haiku in it. They play hopscotch and hide-and-seek. The narrator’s favorite treat is a Neapolitan ice cream cone, clearly delineated in the pictures but very large indeed for a 3-year-old, even if she knows the name of it. At the end, the two girls are shown reading to themselves before bed, surely rare for the age. (The redheaded boy is already asleep.) The pictures, made with cut paper, ink, and pencil, are full of delightful bits and pieces that are often a little surreal: three chickens whose word balloons are French, for example.
Cute but unconvincing. (Picture book. 3-6)