Fisher packs a lot—if not exactly everything, or perhaps not even some of the most important things—into this compendium of basic concepts for young children: letters, numbers up to 20, colors, shapes, opposites, seasons.
The title indulges in a bit of hyperbole, perhaps as a lure to a certain kind of nervous but ambitious parent. Small toys, objects and plastic dolls are lined up, combined or used to create clever tableaus to photographically illustrate each concept. Mixing colors, for instance, employs plastic ducks in various shades to demonstrate the result of color combinations. The superb clarity and rich, saturated colors of these photos create page openings that are nearly startling in their brightness. While the people figures are nicely retro with their bland, naive faces, there’s little diversity demonstrated or implied. And the collection of concepts misses a bet in another important way: For all the charming silliness going on in many of these miniature scenes, others seem static. It’s funny to see tiny figures in aprons and hair buns cleaning up an enormous ladybug, but literal-minded young readers will search the image in vain to find any of those abstract essential concepts (being a friend, taking care of the earth, asking for help) one ought to know before age five.
Cheerful, if not exactly essential, fun. (Picture book. 2-6)