cover image Counting by Numbers

Counting by Numbers

Roger McGough. Viking Children's Books, $8.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-670-82671-1

In this lively rhyme book, assorted fanciful characters--and anthropomorphized objects--depict numbers from one to 25. The volume begins promisingly, as ``one little red hen'' seems to hatch simultaneously from her shell and an overturned paint can, and ``two baby chicks'' roll merrily along in combination shell-prams. Many of the subsequent examples, however, are too complex and obscure for the intended age group: a jar of ``eight onions in a pickle'' would be beyond the grasp of virtually all three-year-olds. Why are 15 telephones ``asleep for the night'' (and why are they snoring); in what way do telescopes ``untwinkle'' stars--and how is that explained to youngsters? While Prachaticka's zany, contemporary pictures are individually amusing, the cumulative result is a self-conscious, overly sophisticated counting book. Ages 1-5. (Apr.)