cover image Jesse Bear

Jesse Bear

Nancy White Carlstrom. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-80478-6

That active, adorable ursine, Jesse Bear, is back, engaged this time in a high-impact counting game. As he counts from one to 20, to the bouncy beat of Carlstrom's breathlessly energetic verse (""Turn the wheel/ And hold on tight./ Honk the horn/ And blink the light./ Thumping, bumping/ Slamming--bam!/ Bumper cars/ Are in a jam""), Jesse is sure to entertain and edify his legions of fans. From one to 10, different settings serve as a means to number fun: a photo booth (three faces in a picture), a beach (five live crabs), an evening sky (seven stars). Each of these digits is treated to its own poem, while numbers 11 through 20 (12 hats, 15 balls, etc.) are featured more simply on smaller, picture-packed panels in the last part of the book. Degen's detailed pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations offer readers plenty to peruse, equally conveying the energy and enthusiasm of the text. Ages 2-6. (Aug.)