cover image Number One Number Fun

Number One Number Fun

Kay Chorao. Holiday House, $15.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-1142-9

Directed by the natty Ringmaster Rat, a menagerie of performing farm animals poses simple math problems in Chorao's (Cathedral Mouse) frolicsome book. The festively costumed creatures spill out of a circus wagon, then reappear in various configurations as limned by Chorao's breezy verses: ""How many pigs are piled in fun? Add four plus three plus two plus one. If one falls off the pile of ten, how many piled-up piglets then?"" (A few rhymes, however, don't quite align: ``other'' and ``together,'' ``his baton'' and ``one by one.'') On each spread, Ringmaster Rat holds a sign with the puzzle arranged numerically, while a nearby balloon displays the answer. Though prominently disclosing the solution reduces the challenge for the upper end of the target audience, it hardly subtracts from the enjoyment. Chorao's cartoony critters are less delicate than in most of her earlier work, but the arithmetical antics here-clown-suited porkers forming a wobbly pyramid, chickens in tutus prancing on a high wire-impart sum fun. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)