Room for Everyone by Naaz Khan

Cover image for Room for Everyone.

Room for Everyone by Naaz Khan, illustrated by Mercè López (9781534431393)

Musa and Dada take the daladala to the shore, but the bus stops for a lot of others along the way. How many people can they fit inside? First there is one old man and his bicycle. Next a herder with two little goats. Then vendors with their three baskets of fruit. And on it goes counting upwards until it gets to ten swimmers with snorkels and fins. Somehow everyone fits into the daladala and everyone gets to the beach successfully. Though it takes a lot of wiggling and giggling along the trip.

This picture book offers a glimpse of life in East Africa, filled with kindness and care for one another as people squeeze together to make sure there is room for everyone. The counting structure of the book works well, but it is the boy’s response to each person and his doubt that they will fit that adds to the humor of the book. The rhyming is well done, adding to the pace of the book and the building pressure inside the daladala.

The illustrations are full of bright, hot colors that make heat of the day apparent to the reader. There is a playfulness to the illustrations with lots of stacking, moving, shifting and wiggling to make room as each new stop is made.

Funny and full of community kindness, this is a great trip to the beach. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Atheneum.

Ten Spooky Pumpkins by Gris Grimly

Cover image for 10 Spooky Pumpkins.

Ten Spooky Pumpkins by Gris Grimly (9781338112443)

Count backwards with plenty of Halloween creatures in this jaunty picture book full of autumn shadows. The ten pumpkins start us out by looking for a cat and finding 9. The black cats creep along the gate, finding eight bats. They discover seven goblins, then six ghosts, five wolves, and onward until we end up with everyone having a grand Halloween bash together. But the book isn’t done yet, as one round full moon rises in the sky, sending everyone running in fright. The little girl ends up fast asleep in bed, her Halloween candy nearby.

The text here is marvelously simple and has a merry rhythm and rhyme that bounces along nicely. That is combined with illustrations that are full of Halloween sights. All of the creatures are perfectly strange with snaggle toothed wolves, slinky black cats, flapping eerie bats, and whispy yet round ghosts. The creatures add to the strangeness of the book, bringing it fully into the Halloween spirit. With dark blacks, bright oranges and the light of the moon, the illustrations are full of seasonal colors.

A counting book sure to bring a Happy Halloween! Appropriate for ages 2-5.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Scholastic.

One-Osaurus, Two-Osaurus by Kim Norman

Cover image.

One-Osaurus, Two-Osaurus by Kim Norman, illustrated by Pierre Collet-Derby (9781536201796)

Some dinosaurs start their morning with a counting game. “One-osaurus, two-osaurus, three-osaurus, four.” After counting to seven, a huge ROAR interrupts the counting. The dinosaurs gather together in a herd and then make a run for it, knowing that something big is heading their way. Soon they are all hiding behind their numbers, letting us count them one more time: one through nine. Where is ten? He’s coming now, he’s “ten-osaurus rex.” But he may not be what the readers expect when he is revealed and the book takes a great twist in the end too.

Norman’s simple writing begs to be shared aloud. This counting book really works well, the numbers on the page playing into the rhyming text and building with it. The pace is wild and romping, something that makes the counting all the more fun. Thanks to its clever structure, young readers get to merrily count the dinosaurs again and again in the book without it feeling at all repetitious. The humor is a large part of the success of the book too.

That same humor is reflected in the illustrations which are big and bold, adding to the read-aloud appeal. The various dinosaurs are bright colored and pop against the changing colors of the background. Having them hide behind their big black numbers adds to the counting fun, including a page where the numbers aren’t in order and young children can find the numbers in a new way.

Smart, funny and full of dinosaurs. You can count on this one being popular. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy provided by Candlewick Press.

Ten Animals in Antarctica: A Counting Book by Moira Court

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Ten Animals in Antarctica: A Counting Book by Moira Court (9781623542320)

Starting first with briefly exploring the continent of Antarctica itself, this nonfiction picture book quickly moves to the ten animals featured inside. The book is a dynamic mix of animals in Antarctica along with an opportunity to count them as they appear on the double-page spreads. First comes one leopard seal floating on his own iceberg. Two emperor penguins waddle across the next page, followed by elephant seals, whales, petrels, orcas, squid, krill, and fish. The book finishes with ten crimson sea stars that dazzle, bright red against the dark background.

Court has created a picture book that very successfully combines factual information about Antarctic animals with counting them. Her language is marvelous, building rhymes directly into her descriptive sentences. She also uses words that will stretch young vocabularies such as “courtly, portly emperor penguins” and “lumbersome, cumbersome southern elephant seals.” The language is such a treat to discover in a nature-focused counting book.

Court’s illustrations are a combination of printmaking and collage. The deep colors and textures bring the cold and icy landscape to life. Court also beautifully designs each page, paying attention to both ease of counting, but also making all of the animals look lifelike too. Readers will enjoy the additional information at the end of the book on both the continent and the featured animals.

Icy and delightful, this is just right for even the youngest of readers to discover a new continent. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Charlesbridge.

Two Dogs on a Trike by Gabi Snyder

Two Dogs on a Trike by Gabi Snyder

Two Dogs on a Trike by Gabi Snyder, illustrated by Robin Rosenthal (9781419738913)

Count up to ten with the help of a lot of dogs and one sneaky cat in this picture book. One dog is alone, but soon joins another dog on a trike. They become three dogs on a scooter, four on a bike. Then five dogs on a trolley and six on a train. Seven on a ferry and eight on a plane, then nine dogs in a hot-air balloon. Ten dogs in a UFO? Wait! Is that a cat? Soon the dogs are moving back through the vehicles, decreasing by one each time, until there are two cats on a trike.

Told very simply, this book has a wonderful fast pace that makes it great fun to share aloud. The vehicles are varied and interesting, making each page turn a surprise. The rhymes are gentle and add to the wildness of the book at just the right moments. The art is graphic and strong, the dogs silly and varied with googly eyes. Readers will see the cat right from the start, which creates a tug of anticipation through the entire first part of the book.

A great book that happens to have counting too. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy provided by Abrams Appleseed.

Review: One Shoe, Two Shoes by Caryl Hart

One Shoe, Two Shoes by Caryl Hart

One Shoe, Two Shoes by Caryl Hart, illustrated by Edward Underwood (9781547600946)

With a clear nod to Dr. Seuss and his iconic Red Fish, Blue Fish, this picture book celebrates rhymes, colors and footwear. The book begins with the dog having one shoe and the human having one shoe, then the two shoes are worn for a walk. There are different colored shoes, knotted laces, cowboy boots, and much more. Then a little mouse makes an appearance near the shoes. Could it be that the shoe is a house for a mouse? How many mice? The counting begins and eventually ends at ten. The dog investigates the mice for awhile but then heads out on another walk after fetching some shoes.

Hart’s text is simple with a bouncy rhyme that keeps the book merry. The pace is fast and jaunty, with plenty of action words along the way to make the book wonderfully playful. The concepts of colors and counting are nicely woven into the story. The circular feel of the book beginning and ending with shoes and walks makes for a book that feels complete.

The illustrations are done in a modern flat style in pencil, ink and collage done with computer assistance. The images are large enough to use with a group and guessing games could be played along the way, matching the shoes with their names, counting the mice (who tend to hide) and finding colors.

A happy book about counting and colors. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy provided by Bloomsbury Children’s Books.

Red House, Tree House, Little Bitty Brown Mouse by Jane Godwin

Red House, Tree House, Little Bitty Brown Mouse by Jane Godwin

Red House, Tree House, Little Bitty Brown Mouse by Jane Godwin, illustrated by Blanca Gomez (9780525553816)

Told in simple rhymes, this book invites the youngest children to explore its pages and engage with the questions asked inside. The book begins with houses, including a little tree house for the tiny mouse. Colors are explored and then there is counting on the next page combined with more colors. The book takes readers on a bus, into the ocean, on all sorts of transportation, and asks engaging questions of the reader along the way. The book ends by inviting readers to look for the mouse hiding in every illustration.

This picture book’s jaunty rhymes are reminiscent of classic children’s books like Go Dog Go! The way that children are invited to engage with the book is wonderful and will help parents new to sharing books with children understand the sorts of questions that can be asked about the images in any picture book. Gomez’s illustrations are full of pure and bright colors that leap from the page, glowing with red, green, blue, orange and pink. The people on the pages are diverse and the urban setting where most of the book takes place is busy and friendly.

Engaging and fun, this book is best shared with only a few children so their perspectives can be heard. Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Dial Books.

3 New Picture Books to Count On

Ducks Away by Mem Fox

Ducks Away! By Mem Fox, illustrated by Judy Horacek (9781338185669)

A mother duck crosses a bridge with her ducklings, all five of them! But then one of the little ducks is blown off of the bridge and down into the water below. Mother Duck doesn’t know what to do with four ducklings on the bridge and one down in the water. Then one by one, the other little ducks tumble down to the water. Finally, all five are floating below and they encourage their mother to join them and take the jump herself. This playful counting book merrily counts up to five in a natural way, then counts both up and down as ducklings move from bridge to water. It all feels so much a part of the story thanks to the subtle rhyme structure and the rhythms deftly created by Fox. The illustrations continue the simplicity of the text, and are just right to share with a group or with one child. A picture book you can count on! Appropriate for ages 1-3. (Reviewed from library copy.)

Everybunny Count By Ellie Sandall

Everybunny Count! By Ellie Sandall (9781534400146)

As the foxes and bunnies play together, they decide that today is the day for hide-and-seek. They count up to ten and then as they search, the counting begins again. They steadily count up to ten once more, giving young listeners objects to count on each page. When the bunnies finally find Fox, he has a surprise for them! One that will help them count all the way to ten again. Sandall’s picture book has a freshness and a lightness that is very welcome. The incorporation of so much counting in a single book adds to the fun as do the personalities of each of the animals. A counting delight. Appropriate for ages 2-4. (Reviewed from library copy.)

Shake the Tree by Chiara Vignocchi

Shake the Tree by Chiara Vignocchi, Paolo Chiarinotti and Silvia Borando (9780763694883)

This bright and active picture book is just right for sharing aloud. When Mouse discovers a nut high in a tree, she tries shaking the tree to get it to fall down to her. She shakes it a little to the left and right, but the nut doesn’t budge. A fox though falls down out of the tree and wants to eat the Mouse who scampers up into the tree’s branches. So the Fox shakes the tree, but the Mouse and the nut do not fall down, instead a Warthog comes down and Fox runs up the tree to escape. When Bear falls down next, he really shakes the tree a lot. All of the animals fall down to the ground along with the nut. What will Bear do now?

Shared aloud, the reader will be shaking the tree and the book back and forth. This book could so easily help with concepts of right and left, particularly if you made the story time interactive and the children helped “shake” the tree too. The book also has a clever way to incorporate counting with each animal adding a shake each time they try. It counts up without actually counting, making it a book that has a natural rhythm and appeal. The illustrations add to this with their bright colors and the large animals tumbling from the tree. Funny and a great read-aloud add this one to your next story time on trees or counting. Appropriate for ages 2-4. (Reviewed from library copy.)

Stack the Cats by Susie Ghahremani

Stack the Cats by Susie Ghahremani

Stack the Cats by Susie Ghahremani (9781419723490, Amazon)

This simple counting picture book is full of feline fun. Starting with one sleeping cat, the book moves to two cats playing with yarn, then three cats stack together into a tower like the cover of the book demonstrates. Four and five cats make towers that threaten to tip. Six cats wisely split into two towers of three cats. Seven cats nap together and then eight cats try a very tall stack and tumble down. Nine cats form three stacks of three and ten cats are just too many. So then the subtraction starts and counting backwards begins.

This is simple counting presented in a humorous and clever way. The text has a great rhythm to it that weaves nicely into the counting itself. Small children will enjoy counting the cats and adults helping them can ask them to count the sleeping cats and point out the basics of multiplication and division shown clearly on the page.

The illustrations are bright and cheery, filled with teals and oranges that pop against one another. They have crisp graphic qualities and the cats themselves are entirely adorable as they play, snooze and stack on the pages.

A winning cat-filled counting book. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Abrams.