WALTERS, Celeste (text) Adele Jaunn (illus.) Puppy Playtime 1,2,3 Little Hare, 2013 unpaged $16.99 pbk ISBN 9781742977164 SCIS 1639627
Billy the bitzer, the hero of this delightful, well-designed counting book, is off to the park to find his toy bone. Hopefully, he left it in a safe place. Soon, he is joined by ten lively and appealing puppies, ‘whisking and frisking’, ‘romping and stomping’ and racing all over the park. He becomes ‘worried and flurried’, will one of these interlopers find his bone? Unfortunately he does not seem to entertain the notion of sharing, and resorts to some ungentlemanly assertive behaviour to safeguard his property until, one by one, the other puppies lose heart and leave the scene to run home to their mums.
The text, with its excellent and entertaining vocabulary, reads aloud beautifully, it rollicks along, full of action, rhyme (most often double rhymes) and repetition, inviting prediction and participation as the puppy count goes from 1 to 10 and back again to 2.
The illustrations in watercolour and watercolour pencil are charming, a perfect match for the clever text. The pages overflow with eager energetic puppies of many different breeds, gambolling in the soft green grass. Who will be the first to spot the bone? Maybe it will be a sharp-eyed reader. Pre-schoolers – Yr 1 will have great fun counting and enjoying wonderful language. Highly recommended. JS