Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

One Moose, Twenty Mice

One Moose, Twenty Mice

Clare Beaton
Board Book
For ages 3 to 5
Barefoot Books, 2000   ISBN: 978-1841482859

There are thousands of counting books in bookshops these days and many of them are unique and cleverly presented. This title is just such a book. On each page or double page spread there is a number, the correct number of animals to match the numeral on the page, and then – and this is what little children will love – there is an orange cat to find. So, for example, on the page for number two we see two little red crabs in a beach pail. "Two crabs, but where's the cat" the text says. Observant readers will soon see a long orange tail sticking out from behind the pail. "There's the cat" they will say, pointing at the tail.

What really makes this board book special is the artwork. Instead of using paints, pencils, or crayons to create her pictures, Clare Beaton uses felt, beads, colored thread, rickrack, buttons, sequins and other embellishments. The fabric pictures she creates are quite remarkable, full of color, texture, and wonderful animals such as whales, frogs, snakes, tigers, and mice. In fact we only get to see the cat come out of hiding when we get to the last page. Here twenty mice scamper across the page – with the cat in hot pursuit.

This is just one in a wonderful collection of books that Clare Beaton has illustrated.