________________ CM . . . . Volume V Number 9 . . . . Janaury 1, 1999

cover The Big City/Big Country Counting Book.

Ian Crysler.
Richmond Hill, ON: Scholastic Canada, 1998.
20 pp., paper, $6.99.
ISBN 0-590-24941-X.

Subject Headings:
Counting-Juvenile literature.
Canada-Juvenile literature.

Preschool - Kindergarten / Ages 2 - 5.
Review by Dave Jenkinson.

**** /4

image Photographer Ian Crysler has produced a most imaginative dual counting book. Young children can elect to begin at the book's "country" side and, via rural scenes, count from "1" to "10" before flipping the book over and again count up to 10, but this time by using things found in the "city." While it initially appears that Crysler is saying that rural and urban children live in different worlds, he, in fact, cleverly reveals that the two groups of children have much in common although the specific form of their commonalities may differ somewhat. For example, the city's "One shiny red truck" is a racing fire truck while the rural "One shiny red truck" is a practical pickup. "Five silly geese" march across a farmer's yard, but "Five silly geese" made of plastic serve as urban decorations. A city vendor proffers "seven tasty hotdogs" while rural children get to roast the same number over the embers of a glowing campfire. "Eight slippery swimmers" prepare to plunge into a city's indoor pool, but their rural counterparts can jump off a floating dock moored in the middle of a forest-surrounded lake. The book's real unity comes at the its middle where the big country and the big city each contribute five children to the shared double page of "Ten funny friends." The coloured photos vividly capture the contrast between the country's wide-open spaces and the city's building-dominated silhouette.

      While The Big City/Big Country Counting Book is Ian Crysler's first book, readers may also know him through his photography of the plasticine-based works of his wife, Barbara Reid.

Highly recommended.

Dave Jenkinson lived in the big country as a child, but he now lives in the big city where he teaches children's literature courses in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364