illus. by author. 32p. Tiger Tales. 2013. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9781589251472. LC 2013009088.
PreS-Gr 1—Abigail, a giraffe, loves to count, but she's having trouble finding something to use for practice. First Ladybug moves, next Zebra eats the leaves, and neither Zebra nor Cheetah can stay still long enough for their markings to be enumerated. Ladybug suggests a field of flowers, but the friends that offer to help are not very good at counting: "'One…two…six…lots!' bellowed Zebra. 'One…three…five…many!' laughed Cheetah." Patiently, Abigail teaches them to count, only to have the sun go down. They're disappointed until, in a vertically unfolding page, she shows them they can tally the stars. The story is simple, with an appropriately brief text that reads aloud smoothly. The counting element is not entirely successful, though, as the counting is done in spurts, often in the middle of a number set. What shines are the illustrations. Rayner imbues her splotchy, impressionistic, watercolor giraffe with personality. The creature's neck often curves along the top of the page, just barely fitting in the frame and bringing her to life. The backgrounds and other animals transport readers to the African savannah, and the twilight wash that darkens to a purple-streaked, star-speckled blue is beautiful to behold. Even the endpapers, covered with giraffe splotches on white, delight the eyes. The exceptional art in this lovely piece of bookmaking carries the story to a higher level.—Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT
When Abigail, a giraffe whose favorite thing is counting, invites Zebra and Cheetah to count a field of flowers with her, she discovers they don't know how ("One...two...six...lots!"). It takes all day to teach them, and by then it's dark. What will the three friends count now? Charming and energetic watercolor illustrations give Abigail and her pals lots of personality.

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