CLUCK ONE by Louise Mathews


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Having scampered through multiplication in Boodles and Boodles of Bunnies (1978), fractions in Gator Pie (1979), and subtraction in The Great Take-Away (1980), Mathews and Bassett offer their simplest arithmetic lesson yet--merely counting six eggs, and keeping track of their sequence with ordinal numbers, as they appear one by one in Mrs. Cluck's barnyard nest. As usual the lesson is buried in a bit of mischief: though Mr. Cluck struts pridefully upon each egg's appearance, only the first is his. The second is sneaked into the coop at night by a cuckoo, and that gives the nocturnal weasel an idea for playing a trick on Mr. Cluck. Each night he slips in a different egg--so that, when they all hatch (in shotgun order, for the story's sake), the first yields a normal chick, the second a cuckoo, the third a duck, the fourth a peacock, the fifth (suspiciously large all along) an ostrich, and the sixth (whose identity is kept from readers till the end) a turtle. There are taunts from the barnyard animal chorus, but Mr. and Mrs. Cluck, to their credit, strut the whole cacophonous brood. Neatly done as usual, though in this standard barnyard setting Bassett's flair for sprightly mischief tips more than ever into prancing cuteness.

Pub Date: May 3rd, 1982
Publisher: Dodd, Mead