Zero Is the Leaves on the Tree by Betsy Franco, illustrated by Shino Arihara

There are many, many counting books published every year, but this book focuses on one number that is often ignored: zero.  The absence of items is rendered here in verse and paintings.  Children are shown the many places that there is zero in everyday life:  no balls left in the bin during recess, no sleds on the hills when snow is melted. 

Franco’s simple and brief poetry, done so subtly that many won’t notice that it is a poem, nicely necklaces the instances of zero together.   Her examples of zero are simple, everyday occurrences that are made poignant by her focus on the transient nature of time.  These glimpse of zero change, replenish, refill.  Arihara’s gouache illustrations have small details but also an expansive view, matching the tone of the poem perfectly. 

Recommended for use in elementary math classes, this book will get children talking about where they see zero in their lives.  It will inspire with the beauty of the language as well.  Appropriate for ages 3-6.

Reviewed from book received from publisher.

Also reviewed by A Patchwork of Books and PlanetEsme.