Review posted March 28, 2011.
Beach Lane Books (Simon & Schuster), New York, 2010. 32 pages.
Ellen Stoll Walsh is brilliant at explaining basic concepts to the very youngest readers. Her earlier book Mouse Paint is justifiably called "a modern classic," demonstrating mice mixing colors in a simple, easily understandable way.
Balancing Act shows how balancing works in a way that even toddlers will be able to absorb. First, two mice balance on opposite ends of a stick. Then a lizard joins them, throwing off the balance -- but when the lizard's friend comes, balance is restored. Then comes a frog, and a friend.
When a big, heavy bird comes, it looks like their game is done -- until all the other creatures get on the other side. That works great -- until the stick breaks.
There are only a few words on each page, used in a way to captivate readers ("Uh-oh! A frog."), so this book will work with the very youngest children, just beginning to understand that books tell a story.
Balance is a Math concept and a Science concept, but learning this concept is disguised in a lovely story with fun use of language that preschoolers will simply enjoy. A definite win!