cover image A-Hunting We Will Go!

A-Hunting We Will Go!

Steven Kellogg, Stephen Kellogg. HarperCollins, $16.99 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-688-14944-4

Kellogg's characteristically buoyant art is the most satisfying aspect of this high-spirited bedtime romp. When their parents tell them that it's almost time for bed, a cherubic brother and sister and two polar bear sidekicks launch into a rendition of this traditional song. After a few lilting verses in which an assortment of animal colleagues join the foursome, and all brave a waterfall in a boat, the narrative's rhythm falters as the author breaks from the familiar cadence of the tune. In calmer waters, the crew sings out ""A-reading we will go! A-reading we will go!"" as they entertain a pod of whales with a book. After taking a bath, the kids and their pals go ""a-brushing,"" ""pajamming"" and finally ""a-hugging,"" bidding goodnight to their parents before climbing into bed with their good-natured menagerie. Endpapers present the musical score for this song, yet Kellogg's improvisations make it difficult to sing along smoothly. Although those trying to read aloud may stumble, preschool listeners aren't likely to care, given the verses' playful rhyme and the ample diversion of the jovial graphics (as when whales dive underwater into human beds; a child uses ""goose shampoose"" to lather up the waterfowl). Adding to the visual fun, the book's playful design introduces a variety of type sizes and attributes portions of the text (in cartoon balloons) to the cheerful, sleep-fighting siblings. Ages 2-up. (Sept.)