At night, mice wearing numbers emerge one by one from the kitchen clock. Ready to play, they prepare for a rollicking party with birthday cake served on the good china, but they have to be wary of Max the cat. Predictably, the feline awakens, with readers becoming aware of this fact before the rodents do. It is not clear why, but they must return to the clock by midnight, because "Tomorrow can't begin/Till every hour is home/And every number's tucked in," thus providing an element of suspense to the tale. The rollicking refrain-"Boom Chicka Rock, Chicka Rock, Chicka Boom!"-will have children moving to the rhythm, but at times the rhymes seem forced. Unfortunately, too many details clutter the text-the mice refer to Max by name and also as Lion. The numerous references to dances are fun-the Electric Slide, the Bunny Hop, Tango, Fandango-but again, complicate the verses. Chitwood's patterned collage illustrations are set against neutral backgrounds. They have an appealing textural quality and successfully convey the movement and drama of the story. There are echoes of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (S & S, 1989) here-with numbers instead of the alphabet, but this book lacks the earlier work's elegant simplicity.
Robin L. Gibson, formerly at Perry County District Library, New Lexington, OH
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