April 16, 2012

Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb

Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb
By Al Perkins; illus. by Eric Gurney
No Author / Illustrator Site
0-4 Preschool Random House 28 pp.
978-0394810768 Hardcover $8.99

Though sparse on story, (one monkey and a drum becomes a profusion of drumming, humming, strumming monkeys), Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb is full of fun and nonsense, even as it teaches toddlers and preschoolers lessons in anatomy, rhythm, language and numbers. Perkins employs a syncopated beat throughout the text, (Dum ditty Dum ditty Dum dum dum), driving the silliness forward until "millions of fingers!" and "millions of thumbs!" and "millions of monkeys" are "drumming on drums!" Gurney's monkeys are a wiley bunch, hairy and bent on having a noisy good time, a quality that has made them an instant hit with generations of preschoolers. Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb is unquestionably well-suited for library and school storytimes being a natural candidate for felt boards and art projects. The book's hallmark is the exuberance with which it introduces educational concepts (everything from numbers to colors make an appearance without cluttering the conceit). Even better, it's a fantastic way to get wiley little monkeys moving, involved and having fun with a book.

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