gm3k9_5340Number symbols are almost as fascinating to children as the A-B-C’s. Counting rhymes, games, and poems are part of every culture’s playtime between caregivers and babies. Now there are wonderful picture books for the very young to capitalize on their interest in numbers. Below, we’ve listed a few of the ones we recommend to start enjoying with the infants and toddlers in your life.


mojameans1Moja Means One: Swahili Counting Book by Muriel L. Feelings and Tom Feelings
A wonderful counting book that shares more than numbers in another language, but also a different culture and part of the world. Each number is illustrated by a two-page black and white drawing. This is the favorite counting book for children we know, who love the sounds of the Swahili language as well as the opportunity to count in English.


1is-a-drummerOne Is a Drummer: A Book of Numbers by Roseanne Thong and Grace Lin
This well-crafted picture book allows children to count from one to ten with brightly colored and clearly illustrated objects that intrigue and delight. Children love the bold pictures and rhyming text. Most of the images, like dragon boats and dim sum carts, come from the Chinese heritage, but it is a clearly multicultural book as the main character also engages with her friends and family from many cultures, playing with puppies and listening to chirping birds.


allisonjay1-2-3: A Child’s First Counting Book by Alison Jay
Allison Jay uses enchanting fairy tale figures in this beautiful little counting book. Number One is the little girl who falls asleep over her fairy tale book and is transported to a magical land where she meets frog princes, gingerbread men, and even gets a glimpse of Jack as watches his beanstalk grow from seeds. The pictures are stunning and have an old-fashioned feel without diminishing their impact on young readers.


ladybugTen Little Ladybugs by Melanie Gerth and Laura Huliska-Beith
In a delightful variation, this is a counting down book, beginning with 10 little ladybugs that little hands can touch and feel. They can also wonder about what happens to them to as one by one, they disappear. It’s a clever rhyming book as well as a rugged interactive board book. Highly recommended!


123-to-the-zoo11, 2, 3 to the Zoo by Eric Carle
Eric Carle’s counting book features animals illustrating numbers in his signature artistic style. Familiar and favorite animals are on a train going to the zoo, and children are invited to count to ten as they turn the pages. In the ending illustration, all the animals can be seen practicing their counting, too.


dinasaursHow Do Dinosaurs Count To Ten? by Jane Yolen
Jane Yolen’s dinosaurs enjoy counting to ten, too. Humorous illustrations and rhyming text make this a favorite for little ones, and big ones, too. Young dinosaur fans can recognize different dinos, too, like T. Rex and Pterodactyl. It’s a great introduction to Yolen’s popular dinosaur series.


dix1Dix Grenouilles by Quentin Blake
Well-know illustrator Quentin Blake creates whimsical images of surly fish (poissons) and twittering chickens (poules) among other animal friends to help count from one crow to a hundred wasps! This bilingual counting book is in French and English, helping young readers play with the sounds of two languages as they count.


10-minutes10 Minutes till Bedtime by Peggy Rathmann
Children who love Goodnight Gorilla will appreciate this countdown to bedtime. Not only is the illustrator the same, but she has included a scene from her other book in the background of one of the pages. In this story, a hamster family plays with a child (which might be either a boy or girl) as the father reads the newspaper and notes the passing time until bed. Each of the hamster numbers is memorable; for example, numbers 3 and 4 are twins. The illustrations are extremely detailed, so it’s fun to find something new even after several readings.


oneduckOne Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root and Jane Chapman
Not only is this story an amusing and interesting counting book, but it is rich in playful and rhythmic language. As we count from one duck to ten dragonflies, we see a duck who is “stuck” and has “no luck” waiting to be rescued by one of the many creatures that come by. Snakes and moose, crickets and fish all try to help, but the duck stays stuck, until the community works together. Note: We don’t recommend the board book edition, as it is seriously abridged. Stick with the paperback or hard cover.


10blackdotsTen Black Dots by Donald Crews
Kids love to find and count all the dots in this colorful and intriguing counting book by award-winning illustrator Donald Crews. It shows black dots creating many different pictures – eyes for a fox, wheels on a train, coins in a piggy bank. Each page adds one more. Another counting book that can be read and reread.





One Response to 1-2-3’s

  1. marydventura says:

    As our infant/toddler library grows our favorites become more pronounced. 10 Minutes Til Bedtime is definitely at the top! My husband and I have started taking it over we have been so enthralled with the pictures, and poor Gabriel has to fight to keep the book in view. The hamsters that are numbered are all doing something a little different (8 is always caught in something, 1 is always kicking something, etc.). My husband marks it as his favorite because he loves the end where the mama hamster is knitting a number 11 shirt. The more we read it, the more we love it!!!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: