cover image Ten Rosy Roses

Ten Rosy Roses

Eve Merriam. HarperCollins, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-027887-8

This simple countdown book adapts a lilting text to a picture book format, in this case encouraging children to learn how to subtract. ""Ten rosy roses standing in a line"" are picked by a multicultural bouquet of students, one spread at a time; in the end, all 10 roses are presented by the children to their smiling teacher. To assist readers in counting how many roses are left at the turn of each page, an insert gives the numeral with an appropriate number of flowers. Not as clever or entertaining as, say, Bobette McCarthy's Ten Little Hippos, the plot's predictable pacing is given a slight twist when only two roses remain and are picked at the same time by a set of twins, the text jumping from ""now there are two"" to ""now there are none."" Gorton's (The Terrible Twos, reviewed above) computer art collages conform to her usual style: mannered compositions of doll-faced, plastic-looking children dressed in highly patterned clothing. Despite (or maybe because of) the high-tech polish, the compositions here are staid and even static, even though Gorton attempts to vary the perspectives. While their elemental qualities may help pre-schoolers concentrate on the lesson at hand, the pictures lack the energy and details that would kindle a desire to return for repeat readings. Ages 3-6. (Apr.)