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Review of 10 Hungry Rabbits

lobel_10 hungry rabbits10 Hungry Rabbits: Counting & Color Concepts
by Anita Lobel; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary    Knopf    24 pp.
2/12    978-0-375-86864-1    $9.99
Library ed.  978-0-375-96864-8    $12.99    g

When Mama Rabbit announces her plans to make vegetable soup for dinner, her ten children — each one wearing a different color — gather ten matching colorful ingredients: one purple cabbage, two white onions, three yellow peppers, and so forth. Each ingredient (including, interestingly, blueberries) is prominently featured in a countable, realistic-style portrait that takes up two-thirds of each page and is accompanied by the corresponding color-coded number, as both an Arabic numeral and written out in Roman script. Beneath the main illustration is a line of text describing the rabbit’s action and using both cardinal and ordinal numbers (“The fourth rabbit picked four red tomatoes”), followed by a smaller horizontal illustration at the bottom of the page that shows the gathering rabbit in action. Once the ingredients are brought home, Papa Rabbit does the chopping and Mama Rabbit does the cooking while their ten hungry children wait, ten empty bowls in hand. This concept book has an original story line, engaging characters, rich language, and a predictable visual and narrative pattern, and the concepts themselves are reinforced in multiple ways in words and pictures, some subtle and some obvious. Best of all, it’s the sort of picture book you can read aloud just for the fun it, even if you don’t care about teaching numbers or colors.

From the January/February 2012 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Kathleen T. Horning About Kathleen T. Horning

Kathleen T. Horning is the director of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, a library of the School of Education, University of Wisconsin–Madison. She is the author of From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children’s Books and teaches a popular online course for ALSC on the history of the Newbery and Caldecott medals.

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