Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Musk Ox Counts

 School Library Journal (July 1, 2013)

K-Gr 4-In a genuinely funny companion to A Is for Musk Ox (Roaring Brook, 2012), zebra and musk ox are arguing about how to compose a counting, er, "addition" book. Although the first spread reads "1 musk ox," the beast is nowhere to be seen; his shadow appears on the second spread, along with a worried zebra. It turns out that one is a lonely number, and musk ox would rather be partying with the two (gorgeous) yaks. Displaying his penchant for creative problem solving, the fast talker shows his frustrated coauthor that the "2 yaks" page could still work if the creatures become part of an equation that includes 1 musk ox. He continues to defend his position while reclining on a shag rug, (bubble) pipe in grinning mouth: "Did you see those lovely ladies? They'd be lonely without me." So it goes, with a delightfully unpredictable plot, inventiveness vs. anal-retentiveness, and tricks that will appeal to juvenile and adult sensibilities. Cabatingan's witty repartee leaves plenty of room for Myers to interpret and enhance the narrative with his own ideas, making this a book in which children will continue to discover surprises during subsequent readings. The artist's oil compositions contrast rich texture in the figures and foregrounds with a more delicate blending of colors in the backgrounds; the result is a pleasing visual experience and a wonderful marriage of numeracy and aesthetics. Will this duo return to wreak havoc with colors, shapes, opposites? One can only hope.-Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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