Can You Top That?

Overview

On his way home from school, a young boy stops for a quiet moment to draw animals on the ground at the park. Soon he is joined by a friend.
Hey, I got a fish with one fin! Can you top that?
A fish with one fin? I got a mouse with two tails! Can you top that?
Quickly the competition heats up as more and ...
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Overview

On his way home from school, a young boy stops for a quiet moment to draw animals on the ground at the park. Soon he is joined by a friend.
Hey, I got a fish with one fin! Can you top that?
A fish with one fin? I got a mouse with two tails! Can you top that?
Quickly the competition heats up as more and more children join in to see who can come up with the most outrageous animal.
A goat with eight horns? I got a cow with nine legs! Can you top that?
A cow with nine legs? I got a horse with ten heads! Can you top that?
But then everything stops when the first boy offers a simple and surprising challenge. Eager young readers will clamor to find out what that is as they read this truly imaginative and wacky counting book.

Author Biography: W. NIKOLA-LISA has written numerous children's books, including the award-winning Bein’ with You This Way and America: My Land, Your Land, Our Land, both published by Lee & Low. A professor of education at National-Louis University in Evanston, Illinois, Nikola-Lisa lives in Chicago.; HECTOR VIVEROS LEE is the author/illustrator of Lee & Low’s I Had a Hippopotamus, the illustrator of Get Set! Swim!, and a contributing artist to W. Nikola-Lisa's America: My Land, Your Land, Our Land. A native of central California, Lee now lives in San Francisco, where he is a full-time classroom teacher.

Children drawing animals on the ground at the park compete to see who has the most impressive one, from a fish with one fin to a horse with ten heads.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Reminiscent of woodcut illustrations, Lee's (I Had a Hippopotamus) multimedia art, which combines gouache, India ink, watercolors and occasionally pastel chalk, is the most distinctive feature of this rather humdrum counting book. A cast of multicultural children, engaged in a variety of outdoor activities, play a game of one-upsmanship as they brag about the creatures they allegedly possess: "A snake with three tongues--I got a bird with four wings! Can you top that?" asks a soccer-playing girl. And her peers try to do just that, claiming in turn to have a cat with five eyes, a dog with six ears, a pig with seven snouts, etc. Lee's renderings of the more freakish of the creatures may be a bit frightening to preschoolers, though the images of the animals contain some fanciful flourishes (e.g., a fish with one fin sports a bow tie, the dog wears purple sunglasses and the pig has a heart-shaped tattoo dedicated to "Mom"). Even Lee's sly visual punch line is not enough to save Nikola-Lisa's (Bein' with You This Way) repetitious narrative. Ages 3-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
A simple counting book is also an imaginative boasting competition on the playground for kids of various colors. The first draws a fish with one fin; that's topped with a mouse with two tails, then a snake with three tongues, and so it goes, up to the horse with ten heads, zany as can be. The final brag to stop them all is one to make the readers smile, before they start designing their own crazy critters. Lee adds a visual vitality by exploiting a mixed media technique that produces rough black outlines filled with saturated colors. Double pages almost vibrate with very active youngsters, odd animals, and the few lines of text floating in colored space. 2000, Lee & Low Books. Ages 4 to 6. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
From The Critics
Imagination abounds! Each child tops the previous exaggerations until a surprise ending! Amusing illustrations add greatly to the story. 2000, Lee & Low Books, $15.95. Ages 3 to 8. Reviewer: C. Henebry SOURCE: Parent Council Volume 8
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Opening pages wordlessly introduce a boy deeply involved in his sidewalk chalk drawings. A friend happens by, and offers the following, "Hey, I got a fish with one fin! Can you top that?" Each succeeding spread presents another child repeating the previous dare while adding a similar challenge. For example, "A fish with one fin-I got a mouse with two tails! Can you top that?" The fun ends when the sidewalk artist offers, "Why that ain't nothing. I got an elephant!" which he promises to produce as soon as the other children make good on their brags. Disappointed with his unimaginative dare, his friends scatter and the story ends with the winking child proudly taking a toy elephant out of his backpack. As explained on the copyright page, the innovative deep-color illustrations were produced in a complicated process involving pencil drawings, black India ink, and gouache. The end result is a woodcut effect. The children depicted are particularly appealing, while the imaginary creations are unpleasantly garish. While older children can appreciate the silliness of these creatures, the younger concept-book audience might find "a pig with seven snouts" and "a cat with five eyes" rather odd and perplexing.-Alicia Eames, New York City Public Schools Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781880000991
  • Publisher: Lee & Low Books, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/28/2000
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.75 (w) x 11.01 (h) x 0.44 (d)

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