cover image Everyone Counts

Everyone Counts

Judy Sierra, illus. by Marc Brown. Knopf, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-525-64620-4

The double meaning of its title sets the clever tenor of this book’s contents, as playful cumulative verse and peppy gouache and pencil illustrations reveal a menagerie of industrious critters transforming an abandoned mall into a zoo. One tiger cub has the initial vision for the project, and two “rough, tough” rhinos arrive in bulldozers to get things rolling—and rudely dismiss a fleet of insects who offer to help: “ ‘Not a chance,’ said the rhinos./ ‘You bugs are too small.’/ ‘You’re pests. You’re annoying./ You don’t count at all.’ ” As other animals arrive in increasingly ascending numbers, they tackle some numerically fitting tasks: six giraffes build six tall towers, and nine moose dig a moat (“nine feet deep, nine feet wide”). And 10 crocodiles construct an elaborate waterslide that the rhinos try to claim—until the insects reappear and cunningly show the bullies just how annoying they can be. The creators of Wild About Books and Wild About You! again demonstrate finely tuned creative teamwork in this nimble tale about cooperation, inclusivity, and the rewards of a job diligently done. Ages 3–7. [em](Sept.) [/em]