cover image Night-Time Numbers: A Scary Counting Book

Night-Time Numbers: A Scary Counting Book

Susan L. Roth. Barefoot Books, $15.95 (24pp) ISBN 978-1-84148-001-5

In this unsettling volume, a mother and child explore their home. Peeking out windows and under beds, they list two dragons, three witches and more: ""Who can you see in the closet tonight?/ I can see eight ghosts in the pale moonlight."" Though a view of pointy hats through the window hints at the three witches to follow, and eight shirts hanging in a closet foreshadow the ghosts on the next page, many of the connections between household objects and scary apparitions are a stretch. Roth (Cinnamon's Day Out) establishes a satisfying call-and-response rhythm, but her uncharacteristically imprecise fabric-and-paper collages look as ramshackle as an old house, and her facile resolution (""Who can you see shining all around?/ I can see an angel, to keep me safe and sound"") may not allay bedtime fears. Ages 2-6. (Oct.)