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TEN, NINE, EIGHT by Molly Bang


illustrated by Molly Bang

Pub Date: April 18th, 1983
ISBN: 0688104800
Publisher: Greenwillow

No tricks, nothing fancy--just (in a welcome departure for Bang) a simple, reverberating bedtime count-down. The full-color, flatly-painted illustrations have in fact something of a primitivist Goodnight Moon feel (and somewhat the same coloration). "10 small toes all washed and warm," we begin; "9 soft friends in a quiet room." The feet are brown (with pink-rimmed toes against a red ground); the "soft friends" are stuffed animals and dolls, and a Siamese cat; the one unobtrusive pictorial device is the repetition of motifs from one illustration to the next--the toes poke into the stuffed animal picture, the cat does various cat-like things further on. But there is also of course a natural progression, not only numerically but in-point-of-time. At "5 round buttons on a yellow gown," we narrow in on the father-and-child we saw at the outset--and then proceed, via "3 sleepy kisses," to "1 big girl all ready for bed." Counting-down, from counting toes, is an inspired approach to bedtime. The pictures don't exhaust themselves, and neither does the experience.