________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 17 . . . . January 13, 2017


Count Your Chickens.

Jo Ellen Bogart. Illustrated by Lori Joy Smith.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2016.
32 pp., hardcover & epub, $22.99 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-77049-792-4 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-77049-794-8 (epub).

Preschool-kindergarten / Ages 2-5.

Review by Ellen Heaney.

**** /4


Not a counting book in the traditional sense ('One apple, Two pears…'), Count Your Chickens is a book which encourages the reader to count what is on the page: pies in the window, balloons on a string, little yellow chicks being pulled along in a red wagon. There is endless counting to be done here.

      Lively scenes feature chickens – and two little mice – moving from morning routines to the excitement of a train ride to a fair in the country to the sleepy end of the day. Expressive little birds, all differentiated by expression and dress, although shaped more like candy 'peeps' than chickens from an anatomy text, fill the pages of a large square book with activity.

      It begins with:

Picky chickens choose the best –
find their favorites, leave the rest.
Chickens paint their fancy toes,
listen to their radios.

      After the primping and readying are done, the action moves to a street in town and then to a train moving through the country to a fair. There, the fun really starts:

Chicken farmer shows his plant,
Chicken racers puff and pant.
Chicken chefs and pastry cooks,

chickens watch with hungry looks.

      Grasshopper tart judging! A chicken-sized Ferris wheel! On to, yes, a performance by The Dixie Chicks:

Banjo chickens pluck and pick,
On their strings these chicks are quick.
Chickens in pink underpants
love the music, have to dance.

      What four-year-old can resist a reference to underwear?

      Although rhyming text can sometimes turn bumpy and awkward, veteran children's writer Bogart has got the meter right and makes a felicitous choice of words to describe what is going on with great humour. Lori Joy Smith, an illustrator and portrait painter from Prince Edward Island, has chosen candy colours for her expressive fowl who have so many different poses and roles. This is a most successful partnership.

      The last two pages repeat the pages of the book in miniature, with a counting question under each one. This seems redundant as little lookers will have more fun going through the main book and counting numerous things on their own as they pore over the pages.

      Count Your Chickens is a perfect lap book or something for an individual child to spend time with.

Highly Recommended.

Ellen Heaney is a retired children's librarian living in Coquitlam, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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