A10shun! If you like puns or word play, this book is 4 you! Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld, who collaborated on the popular Duck! Rabbit!, have once again pooled their clever chromosomes to take a tongue-tempting look at numbers—well, actually, numbers lurking inside words. An author’s note explains that Wumbers (a combination of “words” and “numbers”) was inspired by author William Steig’s similarly creative CDB!
Con10pl8, if you will, a numeral standing in for the sound it makes (words cre8ted with numbers). It’s an entertaining concept in picture book form, but one most likely grasped and enjoyed by a somewhat older crowd, perhaps first or second grade—children more familiar with words and numbers individually, so they can truly enjoy the juxtaposition.
There’s no storyline in Wumbers—each spread is a random stand-alone scene, involving everything from a tuba playing to a bejeweled octopus. Lichtenheld’s boldly colored illustrations and whimsical figures add to the fun.
Most effective as a novelty book, Wumbers may prove a bit of a mouthful for a read-aloud. Older kids and adults, however, will appreciate the 4midable challenge of deciphering the message contained in each word-and-number combination.