cover image One Little, Two Little, Three Little Children

One Little, Two Little, Three Little Children

Kelly DiPucchio, illus. by Mary Lundquist. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-234866-1

Because the original “Ten Little” nursery songs were rooted in cultural insensitivity and downright racism, adaptation poses a risk. Nevertheless, DiPucchio (Everyone Loves Bacon) repurposes the familiar song as a warm list of beloved children and happy families. Lundquist (Cat & Bunny) pictures wholesome scenes of racially and culturally diverse families, opening with “One little, two little, three little children” jumping rope. Rather than count to 10, the verses supply descriptive language: “Loved little, hugged little, snugged little children./ Cry little, shy little, my little children./ All children ’round the world.” The next set of stanzas celebrates “One loving, two loving, three loving daddies,” followed by verses praising mommies, houses, voices, and families. The same families reappear throughout, with the song culminating in a picnic for all: the jump-rope trio, several mom-and-dad groups, a single mother and kids, a grandma, and a gay male couple and their baby. The urban parks, public transit, and clothing are nonspecific enough to be anywhere, as DiPucchio and Lundquist project an understated vision of diversity. Ages 4–8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (May)