From School Library Journal
PreSchool-K—Starting with a picture of a sleepy-looking mother dog and her litter, with one youngster sneaking off, and the words "1 pup's up," the text counts the dogs up to 10 and back again. Their day includes everything from "6 puppies piddle…" to "7 pups pounce./8 puppies chase./9 puppies bounce/in a pudgy puppy race." The rhyming text is short and effective. It scans well, and, while not outstanding, reads aloud smoothly, and captures the essence of puppyhood. Cole's engaging watercolor and ink artwork captures little tails as they poke up, and nearly every pup is distinctive: some are solid black, brown, tan, or white, while others sport spots in differing colors and patterns. The pages vary in layout from spot art to full-bleed spreads, imbuing the book with motion and personality. The animals joyfully romp and play, and little listeners are sure to enjoy counting them and finding favorites. And therein lies the problem. As the numbers increase, the puppies get harder to count. By 10, two of them are nearly off the page, with one only a nose and paws and the other a tail and ears. It seems likely that preschoolers will have difficulty with this. That caveat aside, the book is sure to be popular. An additional purchase where more counting books are needed.—Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT
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A counting book with puppies? This can only lead one place: puppy nirvana. Sure enough, it begins with one chubby pup awakening and pawing his way across the hardwood floor. Soon it's two puppies tumbling, then three playing, and then the troop heads outside: “4 pups drink. / 5 puppies huddle. / 6 puppies piddle in the middle of the muddle.” In a bouncy rhythm that recalls Dr. Seuss's Hop on Pop, the gleeful little canines swell in number until they reach 10 and stuff their muzzles into a line of dog bowls: “All the puppies sniff. / No puppies stray. / Every puppy dines / in the Line-'em-up Café.” The numerals themselves are bigger than the rest of the text, reminding readers at all times to keep counting. It's a bit harder than it sounds, as Cole's tender watercolor-and-ink illustrations often conceal a pup or two in the margins, giving only glimpses of a flap of ear or a nudge of foot. Finally, Chall reverses the countdown through yawning and nuzzling and sleeping. Until, of course, “1 pup's up . . . ” Preschool-Kindergarten. --Daniel Kraus