Harry N. Abrams / Ages 2-8

Harry N. Abrams / Ages 2-8

Ninety-Three In My Family

Nominated for the Cyblis Award!

What would life be like if you shared a house with your mom, dad, two sisters, a gerbil ... and 87 other animals? A close look (in verse) at a furry, fuzzy, feathery and very funny family.

Free Download: Ninety-Three In My Family Activity Guide for Classrooms and Storytimes

Reviews of 93 In My Family

Kirkus Reviews
A huge menagerie shares digs with a family of five. The oversized (purple-haired) teacher asks the bug-eyed little boy, "How many live with you?" And he answers, "Ninety-two." Skepticism leads to his illustrated explanation. Lester's busy pictures-in pen and ink, scanned in a computer and digitally colored-are full of jokes large (all the animals crammed into a car), small (in a pizza-ordering tableau, little goldfish in a bowl holding a sign that declares, "No anchovies!"), and in between. In one priceless picture, the little boy stands on a tall stool and aims a blow dryer at the 27 flapping owls while his two sisters Darlene and Winifred dutifully mop the floor and a frog peeks out from behind a leg of the stool. Perl's narrative describes the chief challenges for the family with all the animals in bouncy verse: fighting over the TV, taking a bath, bedtime, etc. Rib-tickling romp with many counting opportunities for young listeners.


School Library Journal by Susan Weitz
Perl begins with an outlandish premise: a boy explains to his teacher that, counting himself, there are 93 membe

rs in his family, including (but not limited to) 27 owls, 11 dogs, some lions, tigers, armadillos, and frogs, a pygmy hippo named Bernice, Mommy and Daddy, 10 cats, his sister’s gerbil, “Six goldfish, and my sisters,/Darlene and Winifred.” The boy describes what happens at mealtime, in the car, during bath time, and at bedtime. Perl’s verses are bouncy and matter-of-fact: “When all are finished bathing,/We dry the pets with towels./My sisters mop the bathroom floor/While I blow-dry the owls.” The illustrations make what might have been a mildly silly book into a comic masterpiece, with innocent characters that are impervious to the bizarre. Lester adds magical touches like a fish holding up a sign that says “No Anchovies” when the family is ordering pizza. This is, of course, a counting book. Members of the family are introduced at different times, and kids will very likely want to keep tabs on which and how many animals have been mentioned so far. There’s a tally sheet, kept by the teacher, at the end of the story, and readers can go back and forth to make sure she’s counted correctly. Lester’s visual jokes are a pretty nice reward for doing arithmetic.


Washington Post by Elizabeth Ward
Asked by his teacher how many people he lives with, our young narrator counts off 27 owls, 10 cats, 11 dogs, a pygmy hippo and eight blue speckled frogs. Oh, and Mommy and Daddy, his sister's gerbil and six goldfish. And of course, there's more, because that only adds up to 62. Mike Lester's zany illustrations are the icing on the cake of this engaging counting book by another Washington author.


Scripps Howard News Service by Karen MacPherson
Counting has never been so fun as in "Ninety-Three In My Family" (Abrams, $15.95). Here author Erica Perl and illustrator Mike Lester team up to present the zany tale of a family that includes _ among other things _ two pink flamingoes, eight frogs, one pygmy hippo and three children. The combination of Perl's easy-to-read rhymes and Lester's wacky illustrations will make readers laugh and forget that they're learning to count. (Ages 4-8).


Washington Parent by Mary Quattlebaum
Holidays bring family together, and Ninety-Three in My Family (Abrams, 2006, ages 3 to 7, $15.95) reminds us how funny that experience can be. In rollicking rhyming verse by Erica Perl, a little boy dutifully recites for his teacher all the denizens of his home, including 27 owls, 10 cats, a gerbil named Ed and a pygmy hippo rejoicing in the moniker Bernice. Mike Lester’s exuberant illustrations ratchet up the humor with depictions of pop-eyed pizza-eating dogs, pajama-wearing frogs, shampoo-guzzling cats and, my favorite, Ed with his name emblazoned on a gerbil-sized T-shirt. Kids will have a great time finding and counting all the critters on each page, especially when the list grows to include two tigers, three armadillos, five gophers and six goldfish. The book ends on a delightful surprise note: Bernice presenting the family with its 94th member.


Wondertime by Daniel Pinkwater
Accomplished cartoony illustrations in this one-joke book about a family consisting of 27 owls, 10 cats, 11 dogs, 1 pygmy hippo, 8 frogs, 1 gerbil, 6 goldfish, 3 armadillos, 4 lions, 2 parents, 3 children, and many, many others. Life in the busy household is described in funny rhymes and depicted in funny pictures. The punch line is that the pygmy hippo is expecting, and they will soon be 94.


Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast by Jules
Know someone with a lot of pets? Bet they don’t have as many as the little tyke in this Cybil-nominated book; he lives with ninety-two humans and animals — and all in one home — as he tells his stunned teacher one morning during class. Oh my but this is a funny book (there’s one pygmy hippo named Bernice in the home if that gives you an idea of the book’s freakish funniness). And the text, rhyming effortlessly, and Lester’s wonderfully manic cartoon illustrations work together seamlessly. There are twenty-seven owls, ten cats, eleven dogs, pink flamingos, eight frogs, tigers, a Great Dane, and many more in this boy’s home — cohabitating with “my mommy and my daddy/ That hungry gerbil, Ed/ Six goldfish, and my sisters/ Darlene and Winifred,” a recurring refrain. And they’ve all gotta eat and get places and take baths and head to bed and all kinds of other routine domestic scenarios that Lester seems to have had great joy depicting with his quirky pen-and-ink (and digitally colored) illustrations. I won’t tell you how it ends, how there end up being ninety-four in the household, ’cause you should read it — and if only just to see the pygmy hippo’s snappy, unique sartorial style when it comes to PJs (it’s a good year for memorable picture-book-PJs, huh?).


Kids Lit by Tasha Saecker 
This boisterous book tells the story of a little boy who has 93 in his family, including 27 owls, 10 cats, 11 dogs, 2 sisters and a mom and dad. The little boy tells of how they have to order extra large pizzas, cram themselves into the car, and wash all of the animals. Not only is the text a rollicking rhyme, but the illustrations will have children laughing out loud. The two paired together are masterful fun.

Share this one any time someone needs a good laugh or pure silliness. My five-year-old especially loved the picture of the cats drinking the shampoo, and had us read that page again and again, even turning back to it at the end of the book. Days later, he still talks about how funny it is. Now that is a good book.

Big A little a by Kelly Herold 
Do you know a child who likes a tall tale? Or a child who loves animals and is constantly begging for just one more pet? Then Ninety-Three in My Family is for you!

Ninety-Three in My Family, written by Erica S. Perl and illustrated by Mike Lester, begins in the classroom. Today's topic? Our Families. The unflappable teacher asks the young narrator, "'How many live with you?'" And he answers, "I counted quickly in my head. I told her, 'Ninety-two.'"

Why ninety-two? Well here's the narrator's rundown as this week's Poetry Friday entry:

There's twenty-seven owls,

Ten cats, eleven dogs,

A pygmy hippo named Bernice,

And eight blue speckled frogs.

My mommy and my daddy,

My sister's gerbil, Ed,

Six goldfish and my sisters,

Darlene and Winifred.

Whenever people ask me

How many live with me,

I tell them true, there's ninety-two.

Plus one (that's me!), we're ninety-three.

Told in lively verse, Ninety-Three in My Family makes for a truly fun read-aloud. Mike Lester's illustrations are dynamic and, needless to say, packed with animals. The owls, with their grumpy faces, are particularly (dare I say it?) cute. Each colorful page has plenty to look at and look for. The book concludes with a surprise certain to delight the young reader.

Ninety-Three in My Family is highly recommended fun for children ages three-ten.

LibrariAnne by Anne Heathen
From the author of the awesome Chicken Bedtime is Really Early (Abrams 2005) comes this so-fun-it-doesn't-feel-like-learning counting book. Our narrator is asked by his teacher (who happens to have the cutest purple flip hairdo) how many are in his family. He quickly does the mental math and comes up with this giant number and, of course, has to explain in detail how he came up with this number. These illustrations were drawn with pen and ink, scanned into a computer, and digitally colored. Digitally colored? Really? The watercolor effect Lester used is brilliant--I wouldn't have guessed it. The use of bold outlines combined with bright colors is slightly reminiscent of Mo Willems' work, but not at all derivative and completely distinct.

The people and animals in this book are so expressive; the reader really feels that she's getting to know all the many members of this family. It would be easy for an illustrator to half-ass the scenes in which there are so many of a particular creature but each individual has a distinct personality. The situations created by having such a large and various family are hilarious and the illustrations are a perfect match: "When all are finished bathing / We dry the pets with towels / My sisters mop the bathroom floor / While I blow-dry the owls."

This is one of those Whole Shebang books--the entire package is great, from cover art to end papers, every detail is carefully crafted and entirely effective. Run, don't walk, folks!

Your Kid's Library by David Ross
A teacher gets more than she bargained for when she asks a boy to describe all the members of his family.

The boy, of course, includes pets, which number 88 at his frantic house. The kid’s family has wide-ranging tastes in animals and likes to include their creatures in all, and I mean all, activities.

This silly little story reminds me in a small way of our family, which now consists of two parents, one grandmother, revolving cousins, two kids, four frogs and a cat. That total is likely to increase dramatically today when we go to the park in search of more frogs, which my boys consider part of our family. They do sit at the table with us when we eat dinner, as does my 16-year-old cat, but I draw the line at further involvement.

We had a lot of pets growing up. A dog, gerbils, tropical fish of every stripe and variety. But that ain't nuthin. When the boy in this story is asked how many are in his family, he mentally adds up all the owls, gophers, lions, flamingoes, llamas, and, oh, I forget how many pets.

Honestly, who can keep track? But it's fun trying. Seth instantly ripped this from my mitts and has been scouring the book for all its hoofed, pawed, clawed, finned and feathered characters.

Sure, most preschoolers already love counting, but even if they didn't, Perl and Lester slyly sneak it all in with rolicking verses that careen from kitchen to car to bathtub and even the bed, mounded high with sleepy critters.

Lester hand-sketched everything then digitally colored it, but it perfectly imitates the splotchy, impromptu feel of watercolors that just shouts "zany!"

Nothing kills incentive like telling kids math is hard, but you'd never know it here, where you'll be hunting for that poor, carsick gerbil or making sure you've spotted all the tigers (wait, they're not spotted, they're striped. Hah!)

The boy's teacher finally lists them all on the blackboard, and you may be amazed at what you missed.

I want to hire this team to make broccoli taste like cupcakes. I bet they could do it too.

Rating: 3 buds