cover image Sunrise


Helena Clare Pittman. Harcourt Children's Books, $12 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-201684-5

One household's flurry of activity between sunrise and the school bus's arrival is the focus in this paper-over-board counting book. Pies are removed from the oven, mail arrives and a cat gives birth to kittens. The text's few words rhyme with ""sunrise""--""Baby cries,"" ""Bird flies,"" ""Mailman hi's""--and each picture features something to count, like two tears, four birds, seven letters. These objects appear within the artwork and again, in isolation, next to the number featured in each spread. Pebbly black shading, highlighting the paper's grain, adds a rugged texture and almost smudged appearance to the solid colors of Rex's (The Painting Gorilla) acrylic cartoons. Against a background of harsh orange and blue sky, the family bustles to get everyone ready, displaying a narrow range of facial expressions. Pittman (Still-Life Stew) integrates a wisp of plot into the primer, and the litter of kittens makes for the surprise ending. Ages 3-6. (Sept.)