Me and Annie McPhee

illus. by Will Hillenbrand. 32p. Philomel. Jun. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780399168086.
PreS-K—This amusing cumulative counting tale about two curious monkeys—"Me and Annie McPhee, who was no bigger than me"—begins on a seemingly deserted island. The tranquility is disturbed by an ever-increasing list of ridiculous, and always rhyming, animals that come out from their hiding places to frolic. Dunrea counts from "two wee dogs who thought they were frogs" up to "ten rascally rats skipping in hats," and the mayhem grows until Annie McPhee just can't take it anymore. The repetitive and rhyming text bounces along, inviting readers to chime in at the end of each phrase. The repetition is used well to introduce and reinforce the wonderful adjectives and verbs peppered throughout, such as frumpy and sleek, chomping, and creeping. The jewel-tone cartoon illustrations elevate the text by adding a layer of humor; "three perky pigs all wearing wigs" are even more hilarious because of their colorful grass skirts and their shockingly bright rocker wigs. With a combination of graphite pencil and digital techniques, Hillenbrand uses movement and excellent composition to help readers navigate the increasingly chaotic illustrations. His textured and playful art is chock-full of great details, making this work ripe for rereading. Observant kids will revel in the visual clues that foreshadow the animal to follow.
VERDICT Preschoolers and kindergartners will delight in this two-in-one cumulative counting tale that's just right for reading aloud.

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