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Chris Riddell was born in Liverpool and is a highly-acclaimed writer and illustrator of children's books. He has been shortlisted twice for the Kate Greenaway Award. He is also a cartoonist for The Observer . He lives in Brighton. Kathryn Cave has worked in publishing for over 25 years and written many books for children. In 1997, Something Else, illustrated by Chris Riddell, won the UNESCO Prize for children's literature in the service of tolerance. She lives in Hampstead, London. To visit her website click here
PreS-Gr 2-- The emphasis here is on adventure; counting is merely an enjoyable by-product. Tom is a young boy who can't sleep, so his father suggests he ``. . . try counting sheep.'' He begins, but the seventh sheep, much sprier than the others, leads him into ``. . . a wood, wild and fearsome.'' There the lad narrowly escapes meetings with wolves, pythons, mountain goats, pirates, penguins, vampire bats, ghosts, and tigers. He survives by shrewdly hiding or speeding far away by car, on foot, or skis. When he is tempted to linger with an amazing assortment of 88 ghosts, his terrified stuffed bunny drags him away. The cumulative tale is told in rhymed verse that flows smoothly when read aloud. Oversized double-page spreads are lively with cheerfully frightening creatures appearing in a variety of sizes, angles, and shapes, creating interest and movement. Centered on each right-hand page is a box of text and easily countable sets of silhouettes. As a bonus, end papers offer a clever board game that begins and ends at Tom's bed. For reading aloud, for careful perusal, and for advanced counting--to 100--this is a book children will return to again and again. But a bedtime story, it's not. --Nancy Seiner, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Both Cave and Riddell ( Bear Dance ) display abundant imagination in this unorthodox counting book, which first shows a wide-eyed boy tucked into bed--along with a variety of stuffed toys and animals. Tom can't sleep, so his dad suggests that he count sheep. Following one of them out the door and into the woods, the boy and his now-animated toy rabbit encounter real-life versions of his stuffed menagerie. Among these (appearing in randomly numbered groups) are 12 wolves, 23 pythons, 45 pirates, 54 penguins, 70 bats and 88 ghosts. Tom eventually tiptoes past 97 sleeping Bengal tigers to his bedroom, where the shadows of all of the creatures appear on the walls. Riddell effectively couples vibrant, full-page pictures with smaller, easy-to-count silhouettes. Though the rhyme and rhythm falter occasionally, Cave's bouncy verse carries Tom through his caper at a bracing clip. Ages 4-8. (May)