Ten Sly Piranhas: A Counting Story in Reverse (A Tale of Wickedness - And Worse!)

Overview

The "foxy little fishes" are on the prowl, and their numbers diminish suspiciously fast. Until at last there's only one piranha left--a proud overeater--and alas! he dangerously overreaches himself. Perfect for reading aloud, this jaunty poem is sure to be devoured by all who enjoy seeing that the greedy get just what they deserve. Full-color illustrations.

A school of ten sly piranhas gradually dwindles as they waylay and eat each ...

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Overview

The "foxy little fishes" are on the prowl, and their numbers diminish suspiciously fast. Until at last there's only one piranha left--a proud overeater--and alas! he dangerously overreaches himself. Perfect for reading aloud, this jaunty poem is sure to be devoured by all who enjoy seeing that the greedy get just what they deserve. Full-color illustrations.

A school of ten sly piranhas gradually dwindles as they waylay and eat each other.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Wise's provocative subtitle translates to a sort of ``Ten in a Bed'' of the deep, wherein the protagonists devour one another until the last succumbs to a hungry croc. The concept is clever enough, on the face of it (although the literal-minded may object to the biologically inaccurate representation of this species of fish, which do not in fact eat their own), but Wise's verse is neither sprightly nor inventive enough to animate the entire countdown. Occasionally awkward in rhyme and meter, the verse is generally repetitious. Chess's almost fluorescently colored pictures contain some priceless examples of her trademark wicked wit (the glassy-eyed stare of a piranha who is growing sleepy in the sunlight, to fatal consequence, is particularly hilarious). In a sort of split-screen effect, they offer vistas of various tropical land animals above strips that portray the diminishing schools underwater. But even though the illustrations are fetching individually, they fall short of Chess's strongest work, chiefly because the underwater scenes--the focus of the story's action--provide little opportunity for visual variety. Ages 4-8. (May)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-A story in rhyme of ten bright pink piranhas that, one by one, ``with a gulp and a gurgle'' outwit and devour one another until a crocodile comes along and ``...then there were none.'' The lilting cadence of the anticipatory story makes it fun to read and hear. The right-hand pages of watercolor illustrations complement the lines of text on their facing pages. Their minute detailing of pen and ink outlining and crosshatching, depict the twisting flora and colorful fauna of the piranhas' jungle environment. Bright but not garish, they show both the shoreline inhabitants and the river teeming with turtles, piranhas-and crocs! Frogs, snakes, toucans, and anteaters, too, abound. White spaces frame each picture, drawing attention to the tumbling, intertwining scene. A reverse counting book for voracious readers.-Mary Lou Budd, Milford South Elementary School, OH
Carolyn Phelan
As bloodthirsty a tale as you're likely to find on picture book shelves, this unusual counting rhyme tells of the piranha-eat-piranha world that lies beneath peaceful lily pads. As 10 hot-pink piranhas, grinning gloriously toothy grins, leer at each other in the illustrations, the first verse chants, "Ten sly piranhas were swimming in the river, / Ten hungry fishes, hoping very much to dine. / Then one sly piranha sneaked up close behind another," whereupon the reader turns the page, "And with a gulp, and a gurgle-- / there were only nine." With each murderous verse another piranha disappears from the river, until the last goes to judgment in the jaws of a crocodile. Chess' colored-ink drawings with watercolor washes are as formal in composition and as droll in content as the text. Teachers can use the book to teach counting backward or subtracting by ones, but kids won't need any such excuse for picking up this deliciously witty picture book of remorseless predation.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803712003
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/1/1993
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 600L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.80 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.38 (d)

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