Follow the line on a journey from the city to the country, from the sky to the ocean, from morning till night. Laura Ljungkvist uses her trademark continuous line style to create the perfect counting book for young children. Each scene contains questions designed to get children looking, counting, and thinking. For example, in the underwater picture, children can count seashells, turtles, and the legs on an octopus. Each page is packed with colorful, artful objects and animals—and young counters can follow the line from the front cover to the back cover, through each stunning scene.
Ljungkvist's signature design element is a continuous line that sashays and scribbles across every spread; in Toni's Topsy-Turvy Telephone Day, it provided a phone cord and faces. Here, readers "follow the line" from "early morning in the big city" to a cottage "where, late at night, everybody is sleeping." Tracing the unstoppable line with a finger, or just with the eyes, readers proceed from the far left to the far right margin of each spread, and pick up the thread with the turn of a page. The meandering line traverses crowded highways, an ocean teeming with fish, a forest full of moose and rabbits, and a suburban town with manicured lawns. It zigzags to shape pine trees and serrated blades of grass, spirals into a snail's shell and loops to form a crab "deep under the water." Slight imperfections in the cursive line, which looks to be painted with a ripple of ink, keep this design exercise from seeming too chilly, and so do the retro color schemes and pleasingly blotchy typewriter print, which nod to '70s handicraft rather than digital rendering. On the way from dawn to dusk, Ljungkvist asks playful questions that turn the spreads into visual puzzles (e.g., "How many shirts are on the clothesline?" or "How many babies are awake?"). These games encourage lingering and can be parceled out in future visits to this simple but satisfying book. Ages 3-up.