Tag: counting

Review: Two Mice by Sergio Ruzzier

Two Mice by Sergio Ruzzier

Two Mice by Sergio Ruzzier

Count from one to three and back down to one again in this funny picture book. Three cookies don’t split evenly between two mice, but then neither does only one pair of oars when they head out on the water. Three rocks in the water make two holes in their boat. Luckily there is one island with two trees, which actually are the feet of a giant bird. The two mice cry three tears as they are carried up to be food for three chicks. All it takes is one nest to make their one escape. Back home, the two mice make one soup out of the perfect number of ingredients.

Ruzzier’s counting book is a gem. He cleverly uses the counting as a solid foundation for this story, each moment led forward by the numbers. At the same time, this shows his immense skill as he is able to keep the book funny, warm and dynamic without it becoming too filled with sing-song or too weighted by the structure itself. The story is almost effortless as it reads aloud, each number leaping to the next with the story the focus too.

The art too is jaunty and fun. The bright colors are infused throughout the landscape with clouds and the water ranging from pinks to yellows to oranges. Everything is done in unusual colors except the two main characters who are distinct in their bright white.

A clever counting book, this will make a great pick for bedtime or beginning counters. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from library copy.

Review: Chooky-Doodle-Doo by Jan Whiten

Chooky Doodle Doo by Jan Whiten

Chooky-Doodle-Doo by Jan Whiten, illustrated by Sinead Hanley (InfoSoup)

A fresh little counting book, this Australian import combines numbers with a jaunty rhyme. One little “chooky” chick is unable to pull a big worm out of the ground, so another chick tries to help. Three of them pull and pull then, and the worm just grows longer and longer. Eventually there are six chicks pulling and not able to get the worm out of the ground. Rooster joins them and helps to pull. They pull and pull, bracing themselves on the ground, until pop! The worm lets go and gives them all a big surprise.

Each page asks “What should chookies do?” and leads into the page turn where another chick has joined in helping. The next page then starts with the number of chicks pulling, making the counting element very clear for young readers. The text is simple and has a great rhythm to it. This picture book could easily be turned into a play for preschoolers to act out, since the actions are simple. The reveal at the end is very satisfying and make sure you look at the very final pages to see the smiling worm still happily in the dirt.

The illustrations are done in collage, both by hand and digital. The textures of the papers chosen for the collage offer a feeling of printmaking too, an organic style that works well with the subject matter. The chicks have huge eyes and are large on the page, making counting easy for the youngest listeners. The bright colors add to the appeal.

A great toddler read aloud for units on farms, this picture book will worm its way right into your heart. Appropriate for ages 2-3.

Reviewed from library copy.

Review: One Family by George Shannon

One Family by George Shannon

One Family by George Shannon, illustrated by Blanca Gomez (InfoSoup)

A joyous look at how different families can be and how very happy people can be in small and large families. The book is a cheery mix of counting book and family size, moving from one person happily sharing her book with her cat to a very large family of ten with grandparents mixed in. The book celebrates diversity in families as well with people of different ethnic backgrounds and gay parents. This picture book will have every child seeing themselves on the page and able to relate, which is definitely something to be celebrated!

Shannon writes a great little poem that carries this book forward at a brisk and jaunty pace. Each verse looks at a larger family but begins with “One is…” and then the number of people in that family. The verse then goes on to show other objects and items that are that number but still a solid unit, like a bunch of bananas or a flock of birds. The message is one of being loved and included no matter the size of your family or who is part of it.

Gomez’s illustrations are lovely. She creates diversity with a sense of ease, rather than it being forced at all. It is a joy to see the final page where all of the families are in the same neighborhood and mingling outside, one big rainbow of people together. Her paper collage illustrations are friendly and filled with small touches that are worth lingering over. It’s those touches that make the book feel even more warm and the families all the more loving.

A great pick to celebrate the diversity in every community, this is a great pick to share aloud thanks to the clever rhyme and lovely illustrations. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Review: Counting Crows by Kathi Appelt

counting crows

Counting Crows by Kathi Appelt, illustrated by Rob Dunlavey (InfoSoup)

This playful picture book comes from the author of The Underneath and other novels for older children. This counting book does not move from one to twelve, but instead starts at three and allows a merry amount of counting along the way. Throughout the action is led by the crows who climb around on trees, sit on lines and find all sorts of treats to eat, including spicy ants. The story moves forward with counting until there are twelve crows who then discover one cat!

Appelt proves that she can be a very successful writer for any age of child with her first picture book. Her rhyme reads aloud so well that it’s impossible to read it silently to yourself. It has a great rhythm and buoyancy to it, giving the book a really dynamic energy and feel. I also enjoy a book that has counting in it, but isn’t solely a counting book. This one tells a full story in a cheery way and allows you to share it either as a story book or a concept book.

The illustrations truly make the book unique. Using light drawings with touches of red, the book pops. Readers may notice the one scarf-wearing crow who appears in each scene and then they can see what happens to the scarf after the cat appears. It’s a nice touch that may have some readers turning back to trace the scarf from the beginning of the book.

Bouncy, rhyming, fun and jaunty, this picture book has its own unique tone and feel that readers will appreciate. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Bunches of Board Books

I’ve got some great new board books perfect for little hands to explore and even little gums to gnaw on.


Countablock by Christopher Franceschelli, art by Peskimo

The author of Alphablock returns with a counting book this time.  With thick board pages that are die cut into the shapes of the numbers, the book gives each number two pages where first you are given a number of objects and then what those objects become.  So three boxes become three forts and eight bananas become eight banana peels with the help of some monkeys.  After number ten, the book starts to count by tens and eventually reaches 100.

be patient pandora  play nice hercules 

Mini Myths: Be Patient, Pandora! by Joan Holub and Leslie Patricelli

Mini Myths: Play Nice, Hercules! by Joan Holub and Leslie Patricelli

These two first books in the new Mini Myths series are a cheerful mix of mythology and toddlerhood.  Pandora explores the temptation of a wrapped present and how hard it can be to wait to open it.  Pandora is told to leave the present alone, but just can’t seem to stop herself from touching it, leaning on it, and accidentally opening it.  Hercules is told to play nice with his little sister, but Hercules is much more interested in knocking things down than being nice.  In the end of both books, the myth becomes more about manners and how to be with others. 

All reviewed from copies received from Abrams Appleseed.

Review: Count on the Subway by Paul Dubois Jacobs

count on the subway

Count on the Subway by Paul Dubois Jacobs and Jennifer Swender, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino

Told in a bouncy rhyme, this picture book counts its way through a trip on the New York City subway.  It starts with a mother and daughter heading down the steps into the subway and counting their one MetroCard.  They go down 2 flights and catch the 3.  Onward the story goes, merrily counting the turnstiles, the people, seats and stops.  Once the book reaches ten, it counts its way right back down again, ending when the pair climb there way up into the one and only Union Station. 

The rhyme here is completely infectious.  It bounces along, skips and dances.  It appears effortless and free and is very readable.  In fact, it is hard not to read it aloud.  The illustrations by Yaccarino show the main characters in full color while the others are one solid color and a black outline or just a colored outline.  It makes for a book that is bright and bold. 

Perfectly paced and brightly rhythmic, this counting book will be enjoyed by all sorts of children, not just the ones who have taken a subway before.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Random House Children’s Books.

Review: Ten Eggs in a Nest by Marilyn Sadler

ten eggs in a nest

Ten Eggs in a Nest by Marilyn Sadler, illustrated by Michael Fleming

Released January 28, 2014.

Gwen the Hen laid eggs and Red Rooster was very excited to be a father.  Gwen refused to let him count the eggs before they hatched because it was bad luck.  So Red just had to wait.  When one egg hatched, he marched off to the market to buy the new chick one worm.  But when he returned home, there were two more new chicks!  He hurried back to the market after adding 1+2.  Then when he returned there were three more chicks.  1+2+3=6 newly hatched chicks and off Red hurried.  I bet you can guess what happened next!

This beginning reader nicely mixes counting and addition into the story.  Young readers will enjoy the bustling pace of the book and the tension of what Red will find upon his return to the nest.  The entire book has a warmth and sense of community that is tangible.  Simple text includes lots of numbers and remains simple for new readers throughout.

Fleming’s art is cartoon-like and very child friendly.  The colors pop on the white backgrounds, especially Red who is really a rainbow of colors including orange, purple and blue.  The oval chicks are bouncy and cute as can be. 

To sum it up, this is a great “addition” to new reader collections.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from digital galley received from Edelweiss and Random House.