Groovy Joe: Dance Party Countdown

illus. by Tom Lichtenheld. 40p. Orchard. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545883795. POP
PreS-Gr 2—In this second installment in the series, Groovy Joe, with guitar in paw and a tambourine on his tail, is preparing to rock when—"knock! knock!" In come more and more of his doggy friends with their own instruments, eager to join in. But with all these party crashers, "does Joe get upset? Goodness no!" Kindhearted Joe is happy to fill the room to bursting with his friends. Finally, with eight dogs crowded in, Joe insists that "there's room for one more," and this particular party guest actually has an invitation. It's you, the reader! This title doesn't skimp on the trademarks of classic Litwin prose—spare text, heavy on rhyme and repetition, with predictable patterns that younger children especially will find appealing. But for this new adventure, Litwin has added an explicitly mathematical element to the usual goofy fun. The author asks readers to add up all the canines arriving for Joe's fabulous disco party. The endpapers feature Lichtenheld's signature heavy pencil and show Joe and friends grooving among a variety of mathematical equations, and as each new dog arrives, Lichtenheld highlights the addition on a chalkboard backdrop. The accompanying downloadable song ("Disco Party BOW WOW!") is also structured around counting—taking its listeners through an ascending count of three doggy guests who are "in the room" and "howling at the moon."
VERDICT A reliable crowd-pleaser, this book will easily slot into a storytime rotation with sure success.

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