How Many Donkeys? A New Arabic Counting Tale

How Many Donkeys:  An Arabic Counting Tale by  Margaret Read MacDonald and Nadia Jameel Taibah, illustrated by Carol Liddiment

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know we are addicted to math picture books. We’re always on the lookout for more, especially those that engage kids through story and humor as well as math concepts.  So no surprise that we were drawn to this new one–and have been sharing it with parents and teachers, toddlers and children–and especially our very own Arab-American family members.

How many donkeys are Jouha and his son loading with dates to bring to market?  Are there 10–or 9?  Jouha counts differently  depending on whether he is walking or riding, and each time, readers get to count in Arabic (and English, too), learning both numbers and a funny folk tale at the same time.  The illustrations are sunny and bright and incorporate the numbers at the bottom of the pages ( right to left in Arabic).  Some lovely extras for readers interested in Middle Eastern culture:  On MacDonald’s website, you can listen to Taibah pronounce each number in Arabic, and in the introduction, the authors also mention other variations of this folk-tale.  Lots of fun–encourage your local or school library to add it to their collection of counting books!

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