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Paul Owen Lewis.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 1990.
32pp., paper, $4.95.
ISBN 0-96926404-9. cloth, $12.95. ISBN 0-9692640-9-7. CIP.

Subject Heading:
Counting-Juvenile literature.

Preschool-kindergarten / Ages 2-5

Reviewed by Theo Hersh.

Volume 19 Number 2
1991 March

P. Bear, a polar bear, invites his "best dressed friends" to a New Year's Party. One whale comes at one o'clock and thereafter the animals enter hour by hour, increasing by one, until twelve tuxedoed penguins arrive at midnight.

This very simple picture-book for young children does what a counting book ought to do: it encourages children to count. While the arriving animals illustrate the numbers quantitatively, a clock face on the lower lefthand side of the page shows the time. Both the arabic numerals and printed numbers stand out in red. The unadorned black-and-white pictures are made more effective by the deliberate selection of black-and-white animals (dalmatians, skunks, Canada geese, etc.).

The spare, prosaic text could have been more playfully and poetically wrought: "... at seven o'clock, several snow leopards ..." is not bad, but "... at six o'clock, a half dozen mountain goats ..." could have been better. Regardless of the book's textual shortcomings, it does have an inviting, gentle appeal. It is an economical little book which might be added to a library's counting book collection or a young child's bookshelf without regret.

Theo Hersh, Toronto Public Library, Toronto, ON.
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