From one manatee calf paddling in Florida’s St. Johns River to 10 otter pups sliding in the Mississippi, Berkes adapts the familiar counting rhyme to introduce river animals, their “baby” names, their actions and some U.S. geography.
Sixth in a series of predictable, successful titles based on “Over in the Meadow,” this one adds to the learning mix. Each spread includes the animal and its one to 10 young, shown in their environment; a hidden, additional animal; a map with the river labeled; a numeral; and one to 10 cattails as well as the appropriate verse. The final spread presents a large map of the United States with each river and its respective animal(s) labeled. Extensive backmatter includes an illustrator’s note describing Dubin’s research and methods for making her cut-paper collages, which are enhanced with pastels. As in other books in the series, the author’s note points out that while the actions and baby names are correct, these animals may live elsewhere as well, and they don’t necessarily bear that exact number of young. There is further information about the animals and rivers described, suggested activities, and a page with the song and chords.
Fitting the words to music can be tricky; those who plan to sing this should practice first, but they will be rewarded by a storytime audience filled with standing herons, waddling ducks, whirling dragonflies and squealing kits. (Informational picture book. 3-8)