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There's no shortage of alphabet and counting books this spring.
Kate Sheppard. Kingfisher, $6.99 (18p) ISBN 978-0-7534-6394-9
This spirited counting board book with a padded cover starts off with a minor disaster ("Rabbit had a birthday card ready to go, but 1 angry fox made him lose it--oh no!") and builds from there. The rabbit skittishly hops past a series of caricatured animals set against a photo-collaged background of grass and dirt. The animals try to stop the rabbit to no avail ("6 ducks quacked to alert him ... 7 mice squeaked to divert him"), and at 10, realizing he's lost the card, the rabbit retraces his steps, as the numbers count back down and the animals show him the way. The lively artwork and story line make for an entertaining lesson in numbers. Also available: Animal I Spy. Up to age 4. (Apr.)
Frankie Works the Night Shift
Lisa Westberg Peters, illus. by Jennifer Taylor. Greenwillow, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-009095-1
Featuring digital photography, newcomer Taylor's mixed-media art adds comedic zing to Peters's quirky counting tale. Frankie is an apron-wearing marmalade cat who has the run of a hardware store at night--he empties one wastebasket, spilling its contents onto the floor, and "cleans" two counters. Pursuing a mouse, Frankie knocks over eight nail bins and scurries over the side-by-side beds of his nine "bosses" sleeping upstairs, some of whom wake up with startled …