cover image 3 Pandas Planting: Counting Down to Help the Earth

3 Pandas Planting: Counting Down to Help the Earth

Megan Halsey. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-02-742035-7

A playful plentitude of environmental lessons can be painlessly learned in Halsey's ( Something to Crow About ) upbeat, reverse counting book. Her worthwhile offering opens with a dozen crocodiles zooming down the highway: ``We're carpooling,'' calls one croc tyke from a car window, and indeed the 12 occupy only three vehicles. In a charmingly detailed cross-section of a house, 11 tigers are seen conserving water; subsequent spreads feature recycling bruins, beach-going turtles who ``take our cans home'' and, of course, the eponymous pandas, busily planting and nourishing saplings. The animal cast demonstrates considerable personality (check out the condors, who manage to live up to their tough-guy image while ``collecting litter''), and Halsey has concocted some unexpected settings (seven fetchingly costumed chimps change lightbulbs at a dressing-room mirror as they primp and preen). Colors are joyful, drawings are sharply outlined--and a vital message is vibrantly conveyed. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)