cover image Mother Earth's Counting Book

Mother Earth's Counting Book

Andrew Clements. Picture Book Studio Ltd, $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-88708-138-5

If the motto of the day is ``Think globally, act locally,'' this luminous picture book helps inculcate that environmentalist precept. Clements urges readers to count from one earth (``only one'') through nine mammals (``and many more, including you'') up to 10 fishes, then back again, from 10 plants to the one earth. Johnson's warm, subtly graded full-spread paintings place each of the named objects into whimsical but meaningful context. For example, eight birds (gull, owl, flamingo, etc.) fly out of a globe that, like an eggshell, has cracked in two; six specific mountains are represented as triangles, each superimposed on the next-largest to show their relative heights. Endnotes explain how the 108 named items here were chosen (the six mountains, for example, are the tallest of each populated continent) and provide additional information (the gull is a sea bird and omnipresent, the owl is a nighttime hunter). The result: children can tailor the extent of their reading to suit their own curiosity, and that curiosity will likely be fanned by the intelligence of Clements's and Johnson's presentation. Ages 3-up. (Nov.)