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Children's LiteratureCounting books take many forms. This one presents the numbers one to ten along with a story in rhyme about a baby skunk making his way home through a dark wood. Scary creatures lurk in the shadows to be counted by the reader and chased away by the brave little creature, who eventually reaches the safety of his loving family. Although the three spider webs are rather difficult to see, numbered creatures turn up in order through the number six, when the story interrupts the counting for several pages. Picking up again, the numbers seven (times the skunk tells his tale) and nine (hugs given to him) are represented by actions not picturable or countable. The story ends with ten clearly twinkling stars in a midnight sky, but one wonders how much a young child who fears the dark will be comforted by a picture of the little skunk sleeping alone in the night woods with eyes peering through the foliage. In spite of cute little skunks and other animals, the book, bracketed by green-black endpapers, has a murky look. Unfortunately, the framework of a counting book, which because of the story is not even consistently followed, is not really appropriate to support the emotional weight of a tale about not being afraid of the dark. The result doesn't satisfy on either count. 2005, Knopf, Ages 3 to 6.
—Barbara L. Talcroft