With a curmudgeonly rat as his reluctant tour guide, a boy explores a pet store in which all the denizens are for sale. Exotic animals abound; the selection includes a giant tortoise, pelican, platypus, skink, koala bear, and even an anteater. While the boy shops, the little rat desperately tries to convince him that he is the best bargain. “ ‘Who wants a koala that doesn’t like leaves?’ said the rat. ‘Or an anteater that won’t eat its ant? I’m not fussy! I’ll eat . . . ANYTHING!’ “ A portion of the page is missing, as if chomped by the overeager rodent. Inkpen adroitly introduces numerals 1—10; every animal is priced consecutively from 1õ for the rat up to 10õ for an entire bag of “assorted little brown creatures,” with the ultimate bargain a Komodo dragon for 25õ. Readers gain a last lesson in addition as they learn that the entire contents of the store can be had for $1.00—precisely the amount in the boy’s pocket. Colorful, detailed illustrations depict the creatures with realism. Humor, well-placed lift-up flaps and the antics of the rat conspire to make this thoroughly likable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-531-30130-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1999



Baker (Big Fat Hen, 1994, etc.) engages in more number play, posing ducklings in every combination of groups, e.g., “Splashing as they leap and dive/7 ducklings, 2 plus 5.” Using a great array of streaked and dappled papers, Baker creates a series of leafy collage scenes for the noisy, exuberant ducklings to fill, tucking in an occasional ladybug or other small creature for sharp-eyed pre-readers to spot. Children will regretfully wave goodbye as the ducks fly off in neat formation at the end of this brief, painless introduction to several basic math concepts. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-292858-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1999


PLB 0-688-15542-1 My Day In The Garden ($16.00; PLB $15.93; Apr.; 24 pp.; 0-688-15541-3; PLB 0-688-15542-1): The creative heroines in this gentle story of easy companionship show that rainy days can be full of fun. “Berry-picking with the birds./Lunch with the ladybugs./Under a tree for a nap,” are among the scenes; with the aid of costumes and the girls’ imaginations, the foursome create their own party, dressing up as butterflies, ladybugs, crickets, even worms. They eat, wriggle, sing, and play hide-and-seek. As darkness falls, the girls disband, and one child is seen asleep, with more dreams of the garden dancing in her head. Lobel’s idyllic illustrations are as lovely as a sunny summer afternoon, while the lyrical text demonstrates inventive simplicity. Charming. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-688-15541-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999

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