Ages 3^-6. Here's a book about numbers that has a little extra get-up-and-go. Race cars numbered from 1 to 20 battle it out while a gallery of animal spectators cheers: "1 is at the starting gate. / 2 and 3 can hardly wait." Cars gleam in bright, almost iridescent colors as they jockey for position, each one clearly numbered so children can follow a favorite as they learn to differentiate between the numerals. The rhyming text has a lively beat, and the artwork, which almost seems to zoom off the page, has lots of comical details that little ones will like. An appealing tool for number recognition; use it in conjunction with some of Stuart Murphy's Math Start books, which give children a more complete idea of what numbers mean and how they work for us. Stephanie Zvirin
From Kirkus Reviews
Wide-eyed and grinning, 20 cars line up for a race-and they're off, burning rubber, swerving into walls and each other, shedding parts, crawling off the track with tongues hanging out. ``Which car's first across the line?/Hurrah! It's driver number 9!'' In illustrations created first on a computer, Murphy puts a wonderful range of expressions and vivid jellybean colors on his autos, but leaves crews, spectators, and vehicles floating just above the ground, and despite tidy sets of tire tracks and boldface ``sound effects,'' the cars have little sense of motion. While the book has some value for preschoolers as practice in number recognition, the static illustrations put it outside a winner's circle that would include Thacher Hurd's Zoom City (p. 197), Tres Seymour's Smash-Up Crash-Up Derby (1995), or Donald Crews's Bicycle Race (1985). (Picture book. 4-5) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.