Wednesday, January 19, 2011

One Too Many by Gianna Marino

One Too Many is a seek-and-find almost wordless counting book that follows one flea and adds different types of farm animals in sequence to twelve.  Each page presents a new number and new creatures with the flea subtly depicting which animal has been added by hopping to that species last on that page.  The creatures are almost entirely black, white, and gray, and the story culminates with a skunk who sneaks up to the trough where the animals are drinking, sprays its scent, and stinks the others out.

If I could nominate a Caldecott winner for 2011, it would, without a doubt, be this book.  The animals are extremely lifelike, not only in illustration, but in character as well.  Marino includes an activity page in the back that tells how many of each animal and gives the reader additional things to look for, like the pig whose ear is always being chewed.  The animals are convincing, playful, and unpredictable, which gives young children a chance to use their narrative skills to tell what’s happening in each picture.  My son was just as excited about counting where the flea was bouncing as he was to count the animals.  He was enraptured by the bats and made up a game that the mice were probably playing.  We really enjoyed this book.

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