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Page history last edited by RichiesPicks 9 years, 5 months ago

25 October 2010 ONE TOO MANY: A SEEK & FIND COUNTING BOOK by Gianna Marino, Chronicle Books, March 2010, 40p., ISBN: 978-0-8118-69089


"Seven neat orange feet and six yellow chicks and five pink opera singing wives and four brown doors and three green trees and two red beds and one white crocodile smile."

-- from ONE WHITE CROCODILE SMILE, my niece Callie's favorite counting book during her childhood in the Seventies.


For me, a counting book needs to have good illustrations and be a bit off-beat humor in order to capture my interest.  Another one from the early Seventies which was so fun that it always worked really well for circle time is ONE DANCING DRUM, where segments of a very unusual band keep streaming into a gazebo (which eventually falls over, spilling everyone): "One dancing drum.  Two tinkling triangles.  Three bellowing bagpipes.  Four crooning clarinets.  Five tumbling tubas.  Six persnickety piccolos.  Seven triumphant trumpets.  Eight syncopated saxophones.  Nine tootling trombones.  Ten crashing cymbals."


ONE TOO MANY by Gianna Marino also makes use of the comic effect of crowding more and more into a fixed space. 


There are just so many great aspects to this beautiful counting book:  Over the course of a day (We see the sky changing in the background through the story.), a barnyard that is framed around an old wooden water trough becomes the destination for a growing congregation of animals. 


Most of the book is wordless.  A number on each spread marks the progression.  The first spread, set before dawn shows one flea bouncing off of the number into the yard.  Next spread, we find the addition of two cows.  Then come three horses.  And what we begin to realize as we are turning the pages and meeting the four goats, the five sheep, and the six pigs, is that all of these animals are in shades of black and white with a touch of gray and some grayish browns.  And what we also see by this point is that the author/illustrator has a real knack for painting eyes.  These critters really come to life.  Meanwhile, that one flea is bouncing around from head to head, and the sky in the background is now blue. 


After the twelve bats join the accumulated menagerie, we turn the page and are faced with the first words of the story:


"plus one more equals..."


So we look around for that seventy-ninth creature and find...a skunk!


"one too many!"


And so all the critters scatter, leaving odd feathers, and horseshoes, and the moon and stars in their wake. 


The concluding spread, with a few of the animals asleep upon their straw bedding, includes a list of some extra seek-and-find challenges. 


Count on ONE TOO MANY being a real crowd pleaser. 


Richie Partington, MLIS
Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.com
Moderator http://groups.yahoo.com/group/middle_school_lit/

FTC NOTICE: Richie receives free books from lots of publishers who hope he will Pick their books.  You can figure that any review was written after reading and dog-earring a free copy received.  Richie retains these review copies for his rereading pleasure and for use in his booktalks at schools and libraries.

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