cover image Warthogs in the Kitchen: A Sloppy Counting Book

Warthogs in the Kitchen: A Sloppy Counting Book

Pamela Duncan Edwards, Henry Cole, Edwards. Hyperion Books for Children, $13.95 (24pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-0399-6

Collaborators Edwards and Cole (Four Famished Foxes and Fosdyke) pull out all the stops in this slapstick comedy of too many cooks, starring eight eager-eyed, quadruple-tusked, bristly warthogs and a little blue teddy bear. From one chef assiduously washing his hooves, to the wise guy who offers up a jar of pickles to add (""Pickles in cupcakes! Well, perhaps just a few!""), to 10 cooked cupcakes (with a tiny pair for Teddy) this kitchen bursts with bravura. Each page contains a vividly detailed drawing against a white background, with the numeral in question looming large and colorful, then spelled out as the first word in the brief understated text. ""Four scoops of sugar should go in now,"" reads the caption under four cake-makers, each with a scoop in hand as a flow of white granules cascades over the multicolored scoops, forming small mountains on a lime-green checked tablecloth (and missing the mixing bowl entirely). The last spread shows ""zero cakes left"" with the entire cast (including Teddy) collapsed in a bloated heap. Beneath a cupcake recipe in the back for ""humans,"" is another ""for warthogs,"" which exhorts the reader to ""Lick bowl.... Lick countertop. Lick recipe book. Lick your friends."" This is lightweight, irresistible fun kids can count on. Ages 4-9. (May)