cover image 1, 2, I LOVE YOU

1, 2, I LOVE YOU

Alice Schertle, , illus. by Emily Arnold McCully. . Chronicle, $16.95 (20pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-3518-3

With a "1, 2, buckle my shoe" structure and rhythm as a jumping off point, Schertle (All You Need for a Snowman ) and McCully (Mirette on the Highwire ) send a mother elephant and her son on a series of fun and often incredible adventures. "5, 6, clickety sticks/ a trumpet and a drum,/ I'll march with you to Timbuktu,/ toot-toot tumpety-tum ," says the mother elephant, as she and her son jubilantly cross a desert in sight of a camel train. In fact, the mother elephant—who sports an impressive collection of chapeaux—seems game for just about anything: she catches stars "to put in pickle jars" for her little one, plays toy soldiers with the concentration of a seasoned military strategist and commands a toy train (even though her girth requires her to straddle two cars). When the rhyme reaches 10, it reverses count ("2, 1, now we're done,/ .../ trumpet's silent, drum is still,/ shadows cover house and hill"), and takes the pair to bedtime, with the promise of new adventures in dreamland. McCully's elegant draftsmanship and accomplished, pleasingly old-fashioned painterliness may bring to mind 1950s-era vintage children's books, but the mother-son merriment feels modern and wholly original, as does the wry intelligence evident in the elephant mother's eyes. Ages 3-7. (Sept.)