cover image Christopher Counting

Christopher Counting

Valeri Gorbachev, . . Philomel, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-24629-6

Unlike many counting books that seem to stomp decisively through numbers one to 10, Gorbachev (Heron and Turtle ) camouflages the concept in a story about a gentle rabbit named Christopher who simply falls in love with counting. After a successful lesson at school, Christopher counts everything—pencils, fish, toys, plates, cups, shoes, steps and flower petals—and although the pages are not accompanied by numerals, there are plenty of opportunities for readers to count along with Christopher. Pen and watercolor paintings sweetly capture Christopher’s wide-eyed, slightly screwball delight. The dialogue grows somewhat stilted (“ 'Hey, Christopher! We are going to play basketball with the Herons. Come play with us!’... 'Not today. I’d rather count how many baskets you make’ ”) and the plot a little pale. However, the exhilaration Gorbachev conveys in his paintings of Christopher is infectious, and readers may very well be tempted to join in this protagonist’s numbers game. Ages 5-up. (Apr.)