cover image Out for the Count: A Counting Adventure

Out for the Count: A Counting Adventure

Kathryn Cave. Simon & Schuster, $14 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-671-75591-1

Both Cave and Riddell ( Bear Dance ) display abundant imagination in this unorthodox counting book, which first shows a wide-eyed boy tucked into bed--along with a variety of stuffed toys and animals. Tom can't sleep, so his dad suggests that he count sheep. Following one of them out the door and into the woods, the boy and his now-animated toy rabbit encounter real-life versions of his stuffed menagerie. Among these (appearing in randomly numbered groups) are 12 wolves, 23 pythons, 45 pirates, 54 penguins, 70 bats and 88 ghosts. Tom eventually tiptoes past 97 sleeping Bengal tigers to his bedroom, where the shadows of all of the creatures appear on the walls. Riddell effectively couples vibrant, full-page pictures with smaller, easy-to-count silhouettes. Though the rhyme and rhythm falter occasionally, Cave's bouncy verse carries Tom through his caper at a bracing clip. Ages 4-8. (May)