Flora, the animal-loving star of a wordless trio of picture books, makes her board-book debut by counting chicks as they hatch.
On every other double-page spread, one or two gatefold flaps unveil an extended scene as the little white girl and the chicks play together. The number of babies increases with each turn of a page or a relatively sturdy flap, revealing chicks of a variety of colors, from classic yellow to deep brown. This offering is wordless as well, but a numeral floats on the matte-white backgrounds as each one of the eggs hatches. Idle’s skill at capturing balletic body language, both of Flora and of the hatchlings, is in top form here. In smooth, rounded swaths of muted colors, the youngster and the chicks chase and cavort in wonderfully comic scenes; one chick emerges from an egg feet first, another can’t seem to dislodge a shell from its head, and a third dances with a coveted worm. The mama hen, who appeared at the beginning of the action and promptly exited to the left, returns on the penultimate and final spreads to round off the counting exercise to 10.
These chicks are an adorable brood. Here’s hoping Flora and an array of beasties will be appearing in the flaps of more board books soon. (Board book. 1-3)