cover image Arctic Fives Arrive CL

Arctic Fives Arrive CL

Elinor Pinczes. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $16 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-395-73577-0

In verse slightly less agile than that of her 100 Hungry Ants and A Remainder of One, Pinczes enlivens another math concept, this time teaching readers to count by fives. First, five snowy owls perch upon an iceberg. They are followed by five polar bears. Next, five ermine show up, and then five walrus, five arctic hares and five musk oxen join the crowd. All the animals settle in for a grandstand view of the Northern Lights. Then, ""Their order reversed, the watchers dispersed:/ thirty, twenty-five, twenty, fifteen, ten, and five./ The small snowy owls, all satisfied fowls,/ were last, since the first to arrive."" The numerals, unfortunately, just don't cooperate with Pinczes's musical, strictly metered poetry. Meanwhile, Berry's (Market Day; Busy Lizzie, see p. 85) clean-edged linocuts-their icy white, blue and violet areas separated with angular black outlines-invite readers to identify the six species and 30 individuals who jostle for space atop the small platform. Author and illustrator convey the intended lesson, in spite of the arrhythmic subjects. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)