From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2—A seemingly dull day quickly turns into counting mayhem when 19 feline friends follow a kitten home and proceed to tear the place apart. In fluid rhyming text, the head count builds up from "How many cats/are here to play?/Zero, zilch./None today" to "How many cats in all? Plenty!/Now they number nineteen, twenty." Thompson also introduces times table groupings (e.g., "frolicking in four rows of five"). The realistic illustrations are full of energy, with each cat doing its own thing while contributing to the chaos. The domestic setting reinforces the concept of numbers in everyday situations. Although the narrator repeatedly prompts a recount, readers will probably be doing that on their own; the numbers change so quickly—both up and down—that children will want to make sure they have a firm grasp of just how many cats are on a page at any time. The natural cadence of the text and the change-in-the-blink-of-an-eye activity make this a great book for sharing one-on-one. And it's an excellent recommendation for readers who can never have too many cats.—Kara Schaff Dean, Walpole Public Library, MA
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Peppy, rhyming text and lively, realistic illustrations of cats combine in this picture-book counting exercise. All is quiet in the house until one cat returns, progressively followed by more, until “twenty cats jump and jive, frolicking in four rows of five.” Mayhem and mischief ensue until, eventually, cats start departing, their numbers dwindling to “zero, null, nada, none.” Throughout, the text invites kids to count the cats, and more numerically advanced kids can use their new math skills to count sets, add, and subtract: “Four cats make a grand escape. How many cats are left? Eight.” Kids who don’t want to count will still enjoy the diverse felines’ amusing antics, from reposing in a sink to climbing curtains, “skipping, scamping,” “verving, vamping,” all within invitingly detailed household settings. Young cat fanciers and budding mathematicians will find plenty to entertain and engage them. For more verse about cats and counting, try Betsy Lewin’s Cat Count (2003) or Beatrice Schenk de Regniers’ So Many Cats (1985). Grades K-2. --Shelle Rosenfeld
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