For this review I had to reread the book to truly review it. Upon first reading William was fussing and uninterested. I read it faster than I may normally have, trying to keep his attention. Neither this book, nor the other one I read, which I will review soon held his interest, though at his age, that may be expected. I formed my first opinion of the book during that hurried read, and now have reread it to fully form and report on my opinion.
The back cover of the book lists other books in the series. I was lucky enough to get many of these as a set for my baby shower. It would be nice if the cover had instead had a picture or a few words to introduce the book.
The book starts off simply. A lion starts the game of balancing apples on his head and his unimpressed dog friend shows him that he, also, can do the same balancing act.
The game continues with a tiger joining them and also balancing the ever increasing amount of apples on his head.
The dog and lion don’t seem amused by him doing so, upping the number or adding other activities to show off his balancing skills. You can see their annoyed expressions on that page, but here they seem more pensive as he tries to suggest to them that they make it a full ten.
For the conclusion all of the animals are successfully able to balance all ten on their head and presumably go on to do more activities while balancing them.
Upon the first reading my first thought was “that’s it?”. I realize children’s books have to be simple, but I would have liked to have seen them overcome something, perhaps one of the animals could have dropped an apple or two or had a specific line about worrying about it, being annoyed the other animals kept upping the number, etc.
On my second reading, which I did away from William, I really appreciated the subtly of the character’s expressions. It’s all there if you look for and at them. At the same time, many parents would just read the words not looking that much at the expressions and if so not conveying that to the kids. Also the title even gives away that there will be ten apples balanced, though perhaps that is deliberate to let the kids figure it out before the last page.
If I had gone with just my first reading, my rating would be lower. With the second reading, I rate this book three and a half baby booties out of five.