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Saturday, March 4, 2017

Count Your Chickens, written by Jo Ellen Bogart and illustrated by Lori Joy Smith. Tundra, Random House. 2017. $22.99 ages 3 and up

"Chicken farmer shows his plant,
Chicken racers puff and pant.
Chicken chefs and pastry cooks,
chickens watch with hungry looks.
Chicken princess throws a ball.
Slapstick chicken takes ... "

This might not be the counting book you were expecting! Instead of a particular number to be counted on each spread, it is more about counting all the chickens there and discovering what they are doing. No matter the matter, kids are encouraged to take a careful look at all that is presented to see what they can find to count.

They will always be able to spot chickens - doing all manner of things. They might be cooking, painting nails, listening to music, knitting, pulling a wagon, arranging flowers ... you name it, these chickens are busy and involved. There are lots of them, and there are two tiny mice to keep our eyes on as well. The day is filled with action from morning until night.

The begin by getting ready. As the pages turn, they move through town in afternoon sunlight and climb aboard a train bound for the county fair. More action, and more counting to be done, to be sure. They are involved in numerous events, all most enjoyable. From the tart contest to the dunk tank, to the Ferris wheel and a comedy show, they are sure to be entertained at every turn.

When day is done, they head for home.

"Little chickens overfed,
carried home and put to bed.

Chickens, chickens everywhere
had a great time at the fair."

The impressive rhyming text is matched with colorful, detailed illustrations which are rendered in pencil and digitally colored in bright, breezy and humorous spreads that will have young readers paying very close attention to the many opportunities for counting presented. Which page has the most chickens? Can you see the same chicken from one page to the next? Are you a Dixie Chicks or a Blues Brothers fan? If so, you will not be disappointed. Fun for all, and all for fun!

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