The Barnes & Noble Review
John Archambault, author of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, teams up with illustrator Suzanne Tanner Chitwood for this hip-shakin' tale in which 12 little mice try to dance their way to a birthday cake.
Coupled with Chitwood's zesty cut- and torn-paper artwork, Archambault's rhyming text begins with a mouse who "stepped out of his little mouse hole / To see what was left in the cereal bowl." When he sees Birthday Cake on the buffet, he and his mouse pals begin to "Boom Chicka Rock, Chicka Rock, Chicka Boom" their way from their home in the clock, past "Lion" (a snoozing cat), and toward the goody table. Busy with their conga and bunny hops as each mouse prances about and recites a rhyme, the 12 mice get steadily braver until "the midnight mouse -- Number TWELVE -- / Brave and brash, started to yell, 'Let's jump rope with the Lion's tail!' " As you would expect, "Lion" wakes up with a "Griff Gruff Growl," and after they "Sock Hop back to the kitchen clock," the final stroke of midnight means time for settling down safe at home.
Filled with plenty of tongue-turning rhymes that are sure to keep storytimes peppy, Archambault and Chitwood's book is a toe-tapping treat you shouldn't miss. Chitwood's artwork is brilliantly suited to the author's boogy-woogying words, resulting in a marvelous complement to his other rockin' books and such reads as Giles Andreae's Giraffes Can't Dance. You'll be shaking your tail feathers with this one. Matt Warner
Unfortunately, this confusing counting book makes a weak companion to Archambault's now classic Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, co-authored with Bill Martin Jr. The repeated and infectious refrain-this time it's "Boom Chicka Rock, Chicka Rock, Chicka Boom!"-is engaging, but neither art nor text clarify the complicated plot and visual clues. Without explanation, the characters go by various names (Max the cat is sometimes called Lion, the mouse is sometimes Hour Number One); and only near the end of the book do readers discover that the 12 mice represent the hours on the clock ("Tomorrow can't begin/ Till every hour is home/ And every number's tucked in"). Because there is such variance between what the text describes and what the illustrations depict, it's almost as if Archambault and Chitwood (Wake Up, Big Barn!) are telling two different stories. For example, for mouse Number Eight's line, "Climb over the Lion before it's too late/ And jitterbug over to the Birthday Cake!," the illustration shows neither cat nor cake and depicts only two of the eight rodents as they gleefully ride inside sugar and cereal bowls with wheels. Nor does the body language of the mice indicate the dances mentioned at various points in the text. Despite some clever rhythms and wonderful collage compositions featuring expressive mouse characters, the plot of the story is so abstract that the inclusion of time seems to muddle rather than complement the counting rhyme. All ages. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
To the repeated refrain of "Boom Chicka Rock, Chicka Rock, Chicka Boom," the frisky mice come out to rock and boogie while the cat sleeps. The rollicking rhymes describe the frantic activity of mice numbered one to twelve like the kitchen clock as they enjoy birthday cake before the cat wakes up. By midnight they are all tucked back in the clock, safe from the cat, so "tomorrow can begin." The story line is a bit fuzzy (What are the mice doing in the clock?) but the counting practice is there with the fun. Chitwood's frenetic torn paper collages add visual zip to the verses. Each mouse in different color overalls is appropriately numbered; each is humorously appealing in the collaborative games. Max the cat awakes too late for the party. Compare this with Chicka Chicka 1 2 3 by Bill Martin, Jr., Michael Sampson, and Lois Ehlert (Simon & Schuster) the recent alternate sequel to the perennial favorite ABC Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Martin, Archambault, and Ehlert ((Simon & Schuster). 2004, Philomel Books/Penguin Books for Young Readers Group, Ages 4 to 8.
Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
PreS-Gr 1-At night, mice wearing numbers emerge one by one from the kitchen clock. Ready to play, they prepare for a rollicking party with birthday cake served on the good china, but they have to be wary of Max the cat. Predictably, the feline awakens, with readers becoming aware of this fact before the rodents do. It is not clear why, but they must return to the clock by midnight, because "Tomorrow can't begin/Till every hour is home/And every number's tucked in," thus providing an element of suspense to the tale. The rollicking refrain-"Boom Chicka Rock, Chicka Rock, Chicka Boom!"-will have children moving to the rhythm, but at times the rhymes seem forced. Unfortunately, too many details clutter the text-the mice refer to Max by name and also as Lion. The numerous references to dances are fun-the Electric Slide, the Bunny Hop, Tango, Fandango-but again, complicate the verses. Chitwood's patterned collage illustrations are set against neutral backgrounds. They have an appealing textural quality and successfully convey the movement and drama of the story. There are echoes of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (S & S, 1989) here-with numbers instead of the alphabet, but this book lacks the earlier work's elegant simplicity.-Robin L. Gibson, formerly at Perry County District Library, New Lexington, OH Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Spirited torn-paper collages show the nighttime romp of a group of mice. One mouse emerges from behind each number of a clock face; they leap and frolic, pursue cake, and scramble to get back before the clock needs them to start the next day. The numbered mice (one to twelve, naturally) riff on dancing and on the sleeping cat Max (also called Lion): " 'Fast as you can!' said Number TEN. / 'Let's Electric Slide through the Lion's den! / I'm Big Daddy, Dancing Daddy, double-digit Ten- / Lion can't catch me and I'll say it again.' " Occasionally, extra syllables make the reading bumpier than Archambault's Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (with Bill Martin Jr.), but the refrain is supremely satisfying; expect listeners to parade around for days chanting, "Everybody rock! Around the room! / Boom Chicka Rock, Chicka Rock, Chicka Boom!" Jazzy. (Picture book. 3-6)