cover image On the Stairs

On the Stairs

Julie Larios, Handprint. Boyds Mills Press, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-886910-34-8

There's not a misstep in this polished concept book, set on a mouse family's staircase. A collaboration by two sisters and a first book for Larios, the work uses rhyming text and amiable watercolors to teach numbers and to bring out the warmth in quotidian activities. For example, the lines ""Second step. Measure step./ See how I have grown step./ Now I'm getting oh-so-tall/ that I can reach the phone step"" appear with pictures showing the mouse girl, dressed in a pink tutu, measuring herself on a dragon poster ruler while her brother stretches to reach a foyer telephone from the second step. Each of the dozen steps brings a new activity and a new view. On the third (""Window step""), they can look out and see the bird feeder, and on the fourth (""Family step"") they can view photos of themselves as babies. Larios's text is pleasingly repetitive and full of cozy details, while Cornish's soft-washed watercolors portray a house filled with plenty of sunshine. A fine introduction to imaginative play and rhythmic language. Ages 1-6. (Oct.)