cover image Over on the Farm: A Counting Picture Book Rhyme

Over on the Farm: A Counting Picture Book Rhyme

Christopher Gunson. Scholastic, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-590-13445-3

Old MacDonald is surely envious of the cuddly creatures gracing the pages of Gunson's fresh-as-a-daisy debut. In the barnyard and beyond, animal mothers teach their babies to do what comes naturally-young foxes practice rustling and rolling in the leaves; birds hone their flapping and cheeping. And amidst all this countryside activity, young readers learn a thing or two about counting from one to 10. British artist Guston's spare and lilting rhyme offers a series of simple directives and responses ("" `Flap,' said the mother./ `We flap,' said the nine"") for each of 10 increasingly large animal families. A sunny palette and textured brush work give Gunson's depiction of fleecy, furry and feathered friends a springtime breeziness. The animals' playful poses and sweet faces-and a recurring ladybug that children will have fun locating on various spreads-make this a captivating concept book. Ages 2-4. (Apr.)