cover image Look Whooo's Counting

Look Whooo's Counting

Suse MacDonald. Scholastic, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-590-68320-3

Young Owl takes a sunset-to-dawn census of her habitat one night--and learns to count in the process. As she enumerates ""1 prairie dog sitting on a hill,"" ""2 mice in the field,"" and so on, something magical happens: the animals and insects bear an uncanny resemblance to individual numerals, as do her own feathers. When Owl counts ""8 spiders in a web,"" for example, the bodies of the octet of insects look just like the numeral eight, while Owl's underfeathers form the numerals one through eight. (A few of the examples are a stretch, including the moths' wings formed like the numeral four or the bats' numeral seven-shaped right wings.) By book's end, Owl's entire wingspan is made up of the numerals one through 10. MacDonald (Alphabatics) keeps her text spare, so the sheer inventiveness of her cut-paper illustrations takes center stage. Her Owl (whose stylized anatomy may remind children of puzzle pieces) swoops and soars through the full-bleed spreads, her wings taking on almost balletic aspects as she flies over moonlit fields and shimmering water and through the ever-changing night sky. Young audiences should have a fine time plumbing the subtle beauty and humor in MacDonald's richly textured landscapes. Ages 3-8. (Oct.)