Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyYoung Owl takes a sunset-to-dawn census of her habitat one night--and learns to count in the process. As she enumerates "1 prairie dog sitting on a hill," "2 mice in the field," and so on, something magical happens: the animals and insects bear an uncanny resemblance to individual numerals, as do her own feathers. When Owl counts "8 spiders in a web," for example, the bodies of the octet of insects look just like the numeral eight, while Owl's underfeathers form the numerals one through eight. (A few of the examples are a stretch, including the moths' wings formed like the numeral four or the bats' numeral seven-shaped right wings.) By book's end, Owl's entire wingspan is made up of the numerals one through 10. MacDonald (Alphabatics) keeps her text spare, so the sheer inventiveness of her cut-paper illustrations takes center stage. Her Owl (whose stylized anatomy may remind children of puzzle pieces) swoops and soars through the full-bleed spreads, her wings taking on almost balletic aspects as she flies over moonlit fields and shimmering water and through the ever-changing night sky. Young audiences should have a fine time plumbing the subtle beauty and humor in MacDonald's richly textured landscapes. Ages 3-8. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal - School Library JournalPreS-K-A young owl flies through the pages of this book and sees in the moonlit landscape a way to learn to count from 1 to 10. Each turn of the page reveals a group of animals whose shape matches the contour of a number: the curving tails of two mice form two 2s, the graceful silhouettes of five cranes form 5s, the bowed horns of the six big-horned sheep form 6s, and so on. The owl's body is created with a few brown-paper pieces in a simple mosaic. As each double-page spread introduces a new number, that number appears in a feathery row along her wings. Small children will enjoy looking for the pattern and relationship of shape to number. Each concept is shown reinforced several times: as a boldly colored numeral in one sentence, in order as the numbers are added in another, as a part of an animal, and in the owl's wings. Each number is also shown as a group of animals to count. The lines of the cut-paper and paint illustrations are simple enough so that what the owl sees can be seen clearly by children. As the numbers progress, the sky darkens, until the last page, which shows bright narcissus flowers holding 10 snails in the early morning light. This is an owlishly clever approach to counting and looking at number shapes, with plenty to talk about with children just learning to enumerate and to recognize numbers.-Kathie Meizner, Montgomery County Public Libraries, Chevy Chase, MD Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus ReviewsThis elegant counting book by a Caldecott Honorwinner introduces young children to the numbers one through ten. An owl identifies and counts the various creatures she observes during her nocturnal wanderings. By the glow of the rising full moon, she encounters animals large and small, from five majestic cranes to eight tiny spiders. In simple, straightforward prose MacDonald describes Owl's observations while the abundant repetition provides new learners with plenty of practice in counting. "Owl saw 3 ducks near the pond. She counted 1, 2, 3." MacDonald's meticulous attention to detail is evident in every illustration. A two-page spread is devoted to each new number. One page details the name and quantity of the animals Owl espies, with an accompanying illustration depicting the appropriate number of creatures. The facing page contains a picture of Owl soaring over the landscape. Forming the feathers of her outspread wings are the numbers one through the featured number. For children already familiar with their numbers, the intricate cut-paper collages offer a visual challenge. Ingeniously designed pictures reward observant readers with a surpriseeach animal has the highlighted number incorporated into its body. For example, a pair of mice form the numeral two with their tails. Likewise, seven bats all have one wing that resembles the numeral seven. A treat for both new and experienced counters. (Picture book. 3-6)Marsden, John BURNING FOR REVENGE Houghton Mifflin (272 pp.) Oct. 2000
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