Kirk's Reviews > Coco Counts: A Little Chick's First Book of Numbers

Coco Counts by Sloane Tanen
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Feb 13, 12

Read in February, 2012

Coco Counts. What they don't tell you is that Coco is counting how many non sequitur arguments she can throw at a confused audience before they throw this book into the fireplace. Let's just recap on basic logic for a moment here.

Let's determine if the following statement is true:

If p, then q

where p = if one chick is good

and q = two chicks are better

This is easy enough to tackle. Sure. Two chicks are better than one. Three's a crowd, unless it's in the sack. This is a children's book, however, and we're not going there. You can trust the author's judgement to be sound enough to avoid love making between pages one and seven. But by page eight, you have to wonder if the author dropped a hit of acid. "If five chicks are hungry . . . should eight stay awake?" I guess if you're living in a communist dystopia where one's parents must work 12-hour night shifts to earn a crust of bread for their starving children then yes. Yes, eight chicks should stay awake to work for their starving children. Other than that hypothetical context, I have no idea why the hell five chicks being hungry would lead to the necessity of eight chicks staying awake, especially when six are going to bake a damned cake anyway. Wait. Taking that into consideration, even the hypothetical suggestion I present above doesn't make sense. These chicks are going to eat because six others are going to bake a cake. Why, then, must eight stay awake? I guess the correct answer is no. Eight chicks do not have to stay awake. But my brain just keeps shouting "WTF! Does not compute!"

Then it gets even more confusing. Here's the next logic problem: If a bunch of baby chickens play sports, and a bunch more play musical instruments, then when we count to one hundred will it turn the whole world yellow? What. The. $#!T? It's a damned good thing chickens don't play soccer and cellos or we'd live in a very drab world, at least according to the warped logic of the author.

What this story teaches children is that form takes precedence over function in poetics. I'm starting to understand why I see lines reminiscent of "she's my girl/she makes my life a swirl" and "She's the apple of my eye/I should buy her a pie" on Poetry.com and other websites of equal caliber. It's because books like Coco Counts exist.

The pictures are cute though.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by B0nnie (new)

B0nnie excellent analysis - you really seem to understand metafiction & chick lit


message 2: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich That was the best rant against a children's book ever, still laughing over the communist dystopia part.


Kirk Thank you both!

I was actually a pretty big fan of this book the first 800 times my daughter asked me to read it. I still am, but after she pulled it out last week and asked us to read it one more time I couldn't avoid critiquing it in the same way I might critique my students' basic writing endeavors. Now Grover's "There's a Monster at the End of this Book." That is pure genius.


message 4: by Sherry (new)

Sherry That Grover book was a childhood favorite of mine - and I believe you already wrote a great review of that one, didn't you? Yes, excellent review here! Liked the dystopia part, but also loved the form takes precedence over function part, too. The kicker was your last line!


Kirk I did review Grover's book a while back, yes. Those little pipe cleaner chickens are damned cute! Thanks for stopping by, Sherry :)


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