Looking Book: A Hide-and-Seek Counting Story

Looking Book: A Hide-and-Seek Counting Story

by Mary Ann Hoberman, Laura Huliska-Beith
Who can resist a book that features a sly cat, a compelling mystery, and a counting game all in one? When a cat disappears upon page one, young readers are invited to join the search. Lively verse and zany pictures full of sly details will have readers wanting to look at The Looking Book over and over again.


Who can resist a book that features a sly cat, a compelling mystery, and a counting game all in one? When a cat disappears upon page one, young readers are invited to join the search. Lively verse and zany pictures full of sly details will have readers wanting to look at The Looking Book over and over again.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
As its title suggests, this jaunty picture book offers plenty of fun for eagle-eyed readers. When Ned's cat, Pistachio, goes missing, the boy embarks on a page-by-page search for his beloved (and slightly mischievous) pet. Lucky for readers, but challenging for Ned, each subsequent page depicts new scenery and adventure. Originally published in 1973 with different illustrations, Hoberman's (One of Each; A House Is a House for Me) lengthy rhyming text sustains children's interest in the hunt ("He looked some more upon page four,/ Through the windows and the door"). But it's Huliska-Beith's (The Book of Bad Ideas) kicky mixed-media paintings that give the proceedings an educational component as well as excitement. Using acrylics and paper- and fabric-collage, the artist invents an inviting, off-kilter world where a horse with glasses and a fairy tale queen feel right at home. Her sumptuously imagined scenes are generously peppered with puns, jokes and numbers, and each page also contains appropriate quantities of things to count. Author and artist offer readers an inside joke: though Ned is oblivious, Pistachio lurks on every spread. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
This is a book that belongs in every child's collection. The rhyming story is created as a seek-and-find counting book. On every page a boy named Ned is looking for his lost cat named Pistachio, and he talks about numbers in counting order on each page. As the story continues and a number is pointed out, there is representation through the whimsical illustrations of the number being discussed. An example is the number three; the child has number threes all over his shirt, three baby birds in nest, three houses and three apples. This is great way to help children look for everyday things and point them out along with counting at the same time. As the story unfolds and Ned keeps looking for his lost cat, he goes on some imaginative adventures, such as visiting a cowboy and a queen, all in a neat rhyme pattern. Ned finally reaches the end and finds his cat all the way up by number 28. This book gives many fun laughs and most important, it is wonderful teaching tool for both parents and teachers to use with children. As the book is read to children they learn without even realizing it, thanks to the clever way the author has written the book¾to look for something including the cat and numbers and count at the same time. 2002, Little Brown,
— Christy Oestreich
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-In this counting cum visual puzzle book, a green cat is missing, and children are invited to follow his trail through the numbers 1 to 28 as they search for him. In a style reminiscent of Maira Kalman's work, Hoberman and Huliska-Beith lead readers on a merry, but, occasionally, confusing chase. Not only are youngsters asked to find Pistachio (who is not actually in all of the pictures), but they must also find the numerals, and, in some cases, objects that reflect the number. For example, the page for number four has four four-leaf clovers, four footprints, window mullions that make the numeral four, wallpaper imprinted with shadowy fours, and a golfer yelling "four" as his ball takes four bounces into a bowl of four goldfish. A stylized octopus is irritatingly on page seven and has only seven (numbered) arms. The awkward rhyming text ("One day a long long time ago, A boy named Ned set out to look For his lost cat Pistachio. One day a long long time ago") sometimes offers clues to the cat's whereabouts, and sometimes doesn't. This book is a visual feast but it may frustrate children because of its inconsistencies and adult jokiness, both in text and illustration.-Dona Ratterree, New York City Public Schools Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Bouncing verse takes Ned through the pages of the book as he searches for his lost cat Pistachio. Huliska-Beith's (Recess Queen, 2002, etc.) bright acrylic-and-collage illustrations depict a rubber-limbed Ned and his bespectacled horse as they travel through a series of surreal landscapes, always missing the (appropriately) green cat. Each page of the story, from 1-28, is numbered prominently, and most include some grouping of objects to count; these range from the obvious-but-clever (four goldfish and four four-leaf clovers on page 4) to the obscure (22 stripes on the tiger on page 22) to the absent (no such groupings on pages 9 or 14, for instance), making the counting activity hit-or-miss. Pistachio herself is more or less easy to spot, but some spreads feature two facing single-page illustrations while some are double-page spreads; the logic of Pistachio-spotting varies according to the page layout. Hoberman's (Bill Grogan's Goat, above, etc.) text rollicks along cheerily enough at first, but becomes rhythmically monotonous by page 18 or so, and the "book" that Ned moves through has no unifying narrative arc to milk the metaliterary device. While children are likely to enjoy the game of finding Pistachio, adult readers may be grinding their teeth by the end. There are better counting books and hide-and-seek books available, and goodness knows that, in the year following Wiesner's The Three Pigs, there are better books that deconstruct the notion of book. (Picture book. 4-6)

Product Details

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
10.30(w) x 10.25(h) x 0.45(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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