PreS. Parker, a well-known textile designer, teases a counting exercise out of a riot of entwining watercolor blooms and patterned creatures. Beginning with one cat "purring in the garden," she presents paisley turtles, floral puppies, and more animals, playing in the garden in increasing groups, up to 10. Some of the wild compositions are so busy that children may have trouble initially discerning between flowers and the animals they are asked to count. Still, kids will certainly be attracted by the brilliant colors and garden scenes. Not a necessary purchase but a lovely offering. Pair it with Anita Lobel's One Lighthouse, One Moon (2000), another beautiful beginning concept book. -Gillian
PW 4/4/05 Textile designer Parker makes her debut with this horticulturally themed book that counts to 10, and every page seems designed to elicit an admiring "Oooo, pretttty." Dispensing with conventional garden reference points such as earth, sun and sky, she turns her spreads into two-dimensional bouquets, strewing blossoms, branches and vines of no fixed residence against crisp white space; the casual but firm elegance of the array would make Martha Stewart proud. There's a similar deliberate artlessness in her flower shapes, but her utterly luscious colors-lemon yellows, cantaloupe oranges, lipstick pinks and an evocative range of greens ranging from lime to deep avocado-lend the pages a genuine vibrancy and visual depth. After a few pages, the overall effect is not unlike looking at very nice wallpaper, and the numbers themselves, marked by the requisite number of garden- loving, fancifully-patterned critters bobbing and weaving among the greenery ("4 bunnies finding love in the shade," "5 dragonflies darting between the daisies") seem like an afterthought. For anyone who's slogged through a long, gray-brown winter, however, this may be just the ticket. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
SLJ 4/1/05 PreS-K-This visually stunning concept book is set in a lush, blossom-filled flower bed. Hidden among the blooms are creatures to count, all pulsating on a crisp white background. The lively text embraces descriptive words and phrases like "three dogs frolicking in the posies" and "six ladybugs tiptoeing along a stem." Sometimes it is difficult to see the objects to count on a page because of all the busy patterns in the watercolor art, but children seem to take this as a challenge rather than as a distraction. A lovely addition to preschool storytimes about gardens, animals, and spring.-Linda M. Kenton, San Rafael Public Library, CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.