cover image Animal Numbers

Animal Numbers

Bert Kitchen. Dial Books, $12.95 (24pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-0459-6

A companion volume to Kitchen's award-winning Animal Alphabet, this counting book displays each numeral with an animal mother and the requisite number of babies. Thus, we see one joey in a kangaroo's pouch, two cygnets with the mother swan, three squirrel babies with an adult squirrel, and so on. Kitchen's visual ingenuity is once again in evidence, this time in his integration of the animals' shapes and habitats with their respective numerals: the swan's shape mirrors that of the numeral two; a woodpecker builds a nest in the angled enclosure of the number four and taps at the ""tree'' it suggests; and, in one of the book's most stunning images, 25 young garter snakes coil with their mother around their designated numerals. This is not as conceptually tight as its predecessor: after 10, the numbers jump to 15, 25, 50, 75 and 100 and become more a vehicle for Kitchen's artistry than a practical means of counting. But his considerable talent more than compensates for this minor concern, resulting in a luminous volume. All ages. (September)