One Too Many by Gianna Marino

Gianna Marino‘s stunning gouache art takes centre stage in this almost-wordless seek-and-find counting book set in the barnyard. Designed for slightly older kids, the reader should have no trouble using his/her own observation and deduction skills to drive the simple but amusing storyline in this book, where every turn of the page sees not only the introduction of a new animal around the water trough where all the action takes place, but also more and more animals, i.e. one flea, two cows, three horses, five sheep, etc.    To make things even more challenging, not only do the crowded pages soon resemble an animal jigsaw, but the realistic and expressive illustrations are mostly done in black and white, so there’s a bit of a zebra-stripe effect going on in this visual feast.    As hinted by the title, the author also shows her sense of humour when the 13th animal is introduced, and this little element of surprise ends the book on the perfect light note. Unlike some counting or similar ‘I spy’ books that can get a little static after a couple of reads, it’s hard to get tired of the beautiful and varied illustrations on every spread, especially when there are so many ways to use the book and additional fun animal antics to look out for, like the pig that always gets its ear nibbled on, or the goose that pops out from the bottom of the page and stares straight at you!

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