September 2013, Frances Lincoln, 32 pages, Paperback, Review copy
Summary from Frances Lincoln
When Tom finds it hard to get to sleep, counting sheep is just the beginning - counting pythons and pirates, vampire bats and ghosts is a lot more fun. Readers are led on a wild and woolly counting adventure that goes all the way up to a hundred.
What looked like a cute fun read before I went to bed turned into me avoiding looking at the illustrations as I read the story. I'm proud I read every page as it's a catchy rhyme. Tom's plight is one younger readers can relate to-me,I like his bunny who is pretty expressive in all of Tom's adventures. However, the real downside of this book were that the illustrations (some, not all) freaked me out. I ignored the snakes as I hate them regardless what form they take. I adore wolves but theses were horrid looking ones, the pirates were a bit scary, surprisingly the goats looked evil (I'm a big Heidi fan and like my goats to be cute) and don't get me started on the ghosts!
I did think the penguins were adorable, as were the bats (yes I really do think bats are adorable in their own way). I guess the creatures had to be scary so that Tom would need to get away from them, but if the reader is sensitive to how scary things are then this isn't an ideal read for bed (or at all). Thankfully most readers are made of sterner stuff than I am (I do appreciate the skill involved in creating the creepy scenes) and will love seeing so many of each creature on a page. Readers can think of which type of animal they would like to count and conjure up ways to escape them. I wish the games at the start and the beginning had an explanation as it looked like a fun board game.
Another story about bedtime which is similarly freaky is The Sleepwalkers by Viviane Schwarz (Second review on the page, Children's, 7 years +, 7/10E)