HOW HUNGRY ARE YOU?

Donna Jo Napoli, Author, Richard Tchen, Joint Author, Amy Walrod, Illustrator , illus. by Amy Walrod. S&S/Atheneum $16 (32p) ISBN 978-0-689-83389-2

In this delectable combination of practical math and generosity, 13 picnickers amass a true feast. The event starts small, with a chat between a pink rabbit and a green-freckled frog. "I'll make sandwiches if you bring bug juice," says the rabbit. After they assemble 12 bologna sandwiches and a drink jug, a rope-skipping monkey asks to come along: "My mom just made cookies. I could take a dozen." "Four sandwiches each and four cookies each," the rabbit figures, to which the frog says, "Yum." The three soon meet a blackbird who offers 12 rice puddings, twin turtles who share their gum and six more celebrants who contribute a watermelon. But when a fox (number 13) arrives empty-handed, Napoli and Tchen (previously paired for Spinners) show that sharing gets complicated. The animals argue before realizing they have enough for everybody: "Everyone gets half of each thing. Then we can see who's still hungry." Walrod, who created a cut-paper smorgasbord in The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza), keeps track of the buffet in fastidious collages. She deftly handles the script-style dialogue by placing a circular icon next to each spoken line; readers match the rebus portraits to the partygoers. The illustrator also labels food jars to advertise their tasty contents, and selects textured papers for concrete, grass and whole-wheat bread. Even the toughest economists will note the surplus of food and friendship at this potluck. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/20/2001
Release date: 09/01/2001
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