Who can resist the allure of the hidden wilderness water hole? Certainly not one rhino. Not two tigers. Nor three toucans. Pretty soon the delicious pool is drawing moose, catfish, pandas, tortoises... and more than 100 other critters from Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and beyond. But is it our imagination or is that rhino-sized water hole dwindling to a mere shadow of its former self, a puddle not fit for eight ladybugs, let alone 10 kangaroos? As the seasons change across the world, and the animals get thirstier, the water supply diminishes. Eventually, even the flowery-shirted frog that has stoically lingered through the drought packs his suitcase and takes off. The only hope now is a drop of rain on the parched earth...
With his usual elaborate detail, Graeme Base, mad genius behind Animalia, The Eleventh Hour: A Curious Mystery, and other wild and wonderful titles, presents a one-of-a-kind counting book. Naturally, Base would never be content to stick with a simple 1 through 10 format. Readers of all ages will linger over each spread, first counting the highlighted animals and giggling at the translation of their grunts and growls (the moose's "Moo, moo, mooooooiii!" means "Hey, get your hoof out of my ear!"). Then it's time to check out the diminishing size of the die-cut hole in the pond. And finally, readers will want to find each of the 10 additional animals cleverly hidden in every illustration, based on the silhouetted creatures in the border. A safari on paper--with an environmental and mathematical education thrown in for good measure. (Ages 4 to 8) --Emilie Coulter
--This text refers to the
From Publishers Weekly
Readers will find more to see the longer they linger over the enticing pages of Base's (Animalia) latest innovative effort. Successive spreads introduce a growing number of animals (from one rhino to 10 kangaroos) at a water hole which, as viewed through die-cut ovals of progressively decreasing size, becomes smaller with each turn of the page. Though the minimal, somewhat quirky text makes no reference to the locale depicted in each mixed-media painting, images in the background of the various landscapes help pinpoint the country or continent in focus (e.g., Mount Rushmore is visible through the trees that flank five North American moose lapping up water and the Great Wall of China looms behind seven thirsty pandas). Borders at the top and bottom of each spread feature silhouettes of 10 animals indigenous to the spotlighted locale. In the accompanying illustration, Base cleverly conceals renderings of these creatures, subtly working them into the vegetation and sometimes into the remarkably lifelike images of the featured animals themselves. Keeping these creatures company and adding a dose of whimsy to the visuals is a cast of diminutive frogs, bedecked in pearls, knit caps and shirts. Though the animals disappear when the water hole dries up, rain eventually falls and the earth springs back to life. Base's final panorama reveals all the species gathered peacefully at one much larger water hole, bringing his story to a hopeful close. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to the