Bill Martin, Jr., Author, Michael Sampson, Joint Author, Heather Cahoon, Illustrator , illus. by Heather Cahoon. Holt $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8050-6304-2

Rather than admonish children to eat their vegetables, Martin and Sampson (previously paired for Swish!) urge youngsters to give this food group a listen. An okra, onion and a trio of broccoli trees kick off the party as the vegetables join with the numerals one through 10. The story unfolds through the dreams of a farm boy and girl, who doze in the vegetable patch on a hot summer day. A phalanx of 10 scarecrow guardsmen herald the showstopping arrival of each creamy peach numeral amid the carrots, squash, eggplants and beets: "One rockets through the sky,/ and parachutes down with a pumpkin pie," while "six arrives with an old guitar,/ tells the yams/ he's a country star!" But the conceit does not quite cohere—it feels like several ideas stitched together. Those just learning to count may be confused: the numerals do not accompany the corresponding number of vegetables (the numeral five, for instance, arrives with three "broccoli trees"; five yams arrive with the numeral six). Despite the title, the numerals never do line up. Cahoon's characters, however, embody a winning, retro cheekiness; her vegetables and numerals burst with joie de vivre. Ages 3-5. (Sept.)

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