cover image 1 (ONE)

1 (ONE)

Vladimir Radunsky. Viking, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-670-03564-9

Radunsky opens this hyperbolic sequel, coyly subtitled "A nice story of an awful braggart," with a madcap recap of 10 (ten) 's defining moments. In the previous book, Mr. and Mrs. Armadillo gave birth to 10 babies, nine of which are the expected olive-green–skinned sort, but here the attention falls to their unusual-looking brother, "that pink one, the one that looks like a piglet." He is the extrovert of the bunch: "His name is Six.... But he says he is #1." Six, who wears a striped shirt and a sailor's hat with a huge red pompom, insists he is the smartest and bravest of his family. His reckless boasts appear in oversize black print, and his imaginative exploits take flight against spacious backdrops of color rather than in recognizable landscapes. "I have more best friends than anybody!" he announces, citing Madeline, Maisy and Winnie-the-Pooh, among others. Six's relatives declare that he is number one, all right: "You are the #1 clown, show-off, chatterbox, storyteller, dreamer!" they cheer. "You are our #1. " Any resemblance to actual armadillos in this book is purely coincidental. Radunsky, whose paint-and-collage illustrations have the braggadocio of his hero, prefers expressionism to naturalism. He provides a portrait of a likeable loudmouth and suggests a strategy for counteracting over-the-top bluster—and to his credit, the Armadillos' teasing is affectionate, not humiliating. At the conclusion, Six lowers his chin and looks temporarily contrite, but there is no guarantee that he is, or should be, reformed. Ages 3-8. (Oct.)