cover image THE LOOKING BOOK: A Hide-and-Seek Counting Story

THE LOOKING BOOK: A Hide-and-Seek Counting Story

Mary Ann Hoberman, , illus. by Laura Huliska-Beith. . Little, Brown/Tingley, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-316-36328-0

As its title suggests, this jaunty picture book offers plenty of fun for eagle-eyed readers. When Ned's cat, Pistachio, goes missing, the boy embarks on a page-by-page search for his beloved (and slightly mischievous) pet. Lucky for readers, but challenging for Ned, each subsequent page depicts new scenery and adventure. Originally published in 1973 with different illustrations, Hoberman's (One of Each; A House Is a House for Me) lengthy rhyming text sustains children's interest in the hunt ("He looked some more upon page four,/ Through the windows and the door"). But it's Huliska-Beith's (The Book of Bad Ideas) kicky mixed-media paintings that give the proceedings an educational component as well as excitement. Using acrylics and paper- and fabric-collage, the artist invents an inviting, off-kilter world where a horse with glasses and a fairy tale queen feel right at home. Her sumptuously imagined scenes are generously peppered with puns, jokes and numbers, and each page also contains appropriate quantities of things to count. Author and artist offer readers an inside joke: though Ned is oblivious, Pistachio lurks on every spread. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)