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David May.

Edmonton, AB: Tree Frog Press, 1984.
unpaged, paperbound boards, $11.95.
ISBN 0-88967-075-7. CIP.

Subject Heading:
Counting-Juvenile fiction.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 3-7

Reviewed by Dave Jenkinson.

Volume 12 Number 5
1984 September

Using the device of a boy holding on to an ordinary rubber balloon, the text and illustrations follow Byron as he floats over his community from dawn to dusk. Below him he sees one rooster, two farmers' trucks, etc., up to "ten smiling children lie in bed". Each double-page spread has on the verso two lines of English text with the Chipewyan equivalent below it while the facing recto contains a full-colour illustration.

According to an afterword, the book had its genesis when teacher Lynn Atkins asked her Readiness / grade One class in La Loche, Saskatchewan in 1980 to paint pictures from their day-to-day lives based on the numbers one to ten. The sixteen children who were involved were assisted by native artist Gerald McMaster who also created the boy with the balloon to provide continuity. Edmonton based writer David May visited the community in 1983 and wrote the text in the form of short rhymes. In order to maintain rhyme May's words do not always match the specifics of the illustrations, for example "Six sleepy head of cattle / try hard to stay awake" because, in the previous number, five children were down by the "lake". Nothing in the illustrations of the cows suggests somnolence. The unsophisticated illustrations are what would be expected of young children and reflect their age-related difficulties with perspective and size. Though La Loche is in northern Saskatchewan, with the exception of the "three women of the village [who] go out to wash the clothes" in a stream, the scenes illustrated by the children could be found in virtually any rural area in southern Canada.

The work cannot be recommended as a good example of a counting book, but the idea of the title being illustrated by children might appeal to other youngsters. As well, schools and community wherein Chipewyan is a working language will want to add this book.

Dave Jenkinson, Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB.
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