Counting Winter

Eerdmans. Sept. 2024. 44p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780802855701.
PreS-Gr 2–From one red fox to 12 excited children, onlookers count through the Alaskan winter in this picture book poem. Each bold scratchboard and watercolor spread illustrates a single sentence that rhymes internally with the line on the following spread. Seven musk oxen stand in the snow, “sturdily/ facing winter,” while eight sled dogs are “heartily/ racing winter.” Ravens, snowshoe hares, red squirrels, and owls each experience winter in the far north in their own way until the children come out to slip and slide on the melting ice, “merrily/ meeting spring.” Children will want to linger over the pictures in which creatures and landscape are captured in striking scenes. The jet black of the scratchboard tinted with strong, translucent color stands out beautifully against the bright winter white. A final wordless spread includes all of the critters in the book for a bit of seek-and-find fun. The back matter includes an additional fact about each of the animals as well as author’s and illustrator’s notes.
VERDICT A visual treat that cheerfully celebrates winter through lyrical facts found in the natural world, while incidentally also being a counting book. A worthy purchase for most collections.

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