An abundance of glitter weighs down this counting story that begins when perky mermaids invite their friends to tea.
Guests all attempt to impress the girls with flattery as their number grows from one to 10. Dolphins don top hats and bowties; clown fish balance treats and utensils to please the hostesses. Some action energizes cheerful spreads, as when sea horses play hiding games and clumsy starfish spill their drinks. Thick tabs encourage small fingers to manipulate dancing sea horses or to grab crabs' pincers, though their success will vary with tabs’ individual stickiness. A variety of interactive underwater elements, from sparkly touch-and-feel seals to the octopus' sticky lollipop, offer numerous ways to entice the young audience. Forced rhymes sink more than swim. “Nine hungry snails love delicious smells. / Ten sparkling jellyfish ringing lots of tea bells.” The smiling party planners remain Barbie-esque in appearance with their slim stature, rosy cheeks, button noses, cascading hair and perpetual smiles, and the final expanding spread showcases all the characters in a trite conclusion.
Too much sparkle in this sea to whet the palate for repeat readings. (Board book. 1-3)