A Math and Counting Books Roundup

Posted on



Have fun counting and doing simple math with your children …

National Geographic Little Kids Ocean CountingNational_Geographic_Little_Kids_Ocean-Counting
Written by Janet Lawler
Photos by Brian Skerry
(National Geographic; $16.95, Ages 2-5)

If your young kids are into aquariums and learning about sea life then don’t miss this counting book. The beautiful underwater nature photographs match perfectly with the simple yet informative text. There is a little “Did you know?” section on each page with an interesting fact. Basic counting from 1-10 is so enjoyable with this book, plus in the back matter there’s a counting up and counting down page to review the numbers and the respective quantities with children.



Ten Pigs: An Epic Bath Adventure
by Derek Anderson
(Orchard Books/Scholastic; $16.99, Ages 3-5)

This humorous bath adventure from Little Quack illustrator Derek Anderson, will have your kids cracking up! One cute little pig is taking a bath with his rubber ducky when others start to barge into the tub. The text has great rhythm and the illustrations are both cute and extremely funny! I would highly recommend this book for young kids and I know the adults reading it will also find it amusing. You have to find out how the original bathing pig gets the tub all to himself again.




Mice Mischief: Math Facts in Action Mice_Mischief
Written by Caroline Stills
Illustrated by Judith Rossell
(Holiday House; $16.95, Ages 3-6)

Mice get into a lot of interesting and impressive mischief in this book! Mice Mischief offers a refreshing take on learning the different amounts that make 10. For example, as they get ready in the morning “8 mice cook. 2 mice juggle. 8+2=10.” It’s an engaging way to count and add with your little ones. The adorable illustrations complement the spare text perfectly. I hope they make a board book version since I think this book would be great for babies all the way up age 6.



  • Reviewed by Lucy Ravitch

Countablock by Christopher Franceschelli with art by Peskimo

Posted on

by Christopher Franceschelli with art by Peskimo
(Abrams Appleseed, 2014, $16.95; ages 1-3)

AlphablockcvrCountablock by Christopher Franceschelli is no ordinary counting book. Of course, it has numbers 1-10 and then highlights 20, 30, 40 and so on until 100. It features fun objects to count, such as snowmen, heads of hair, baskets of cucumbers, and popsicles. Each main number is represented in words and a die-cut numeral over a double two-page spread. For example, we see forty eggs become [turn the page] thirty nine chicks and one dinosaur. Ninety kernels of corn become [turn the page] ninety pieces of popcorn.

However, the real delight is in the incredible artwork by the husband and wife design duo, Peskimo. The art has a retro/vintage style that nevertheless feels fresh. Cute expressions and cheery colors will appeal to both adults and children. Number 100 is treated to a double gatefold that is replete with characters from the previous numbers and lots of jigsaw puzzle pieces.

This companion to Alphablock has earned a starred review from the School Library Journal and positive reviews from Kirkus Reviews and the New York Times. Sturdily built with thick pages and strong covers, this book should be able to withstand the little hands that will want to explore it again and again. It will make a great gift for the preschooler in your life.

– Reviewed by Rita Zobayan

Have You Seen My Dragon? by Steve Light

Posted on

HAVE YOU SEEN MY DRAGON?(Candlewick Press, $16.99, Ages 2-5) written and illustrated by Steve Light, is reviewed by Ronna Mandel.

⭐︎School Library Journal – Starred review



East Side, West Side, all around the town …

Steve Light’s charming and clever counting book, Have You Seen My Dragon?, takes us all over Manhattan soaking up the sights and counting various things found there. Light’s latest book was a recommended read by book buyer and author Catherine Linka and now I’m sharing her tip with you.

And speaking of tips, Light’s book includes numerous modes of transportation kids want to see in a busy city: taxis, subway cars, bikes, boats and buses, all for the counting – there are 16 subway cars and 17 taxis in case you were wondering! Whatever item is being counted is highlighted by being the only color on an otherwise detailed black and white page. What a marvelous way to grab kids’ attention and pull them back in again and again to search and savor every lovingly drawn line.

I’m a former New Yorker so I especially appreciated this free ride to my hometown. As readers we wind our way all around the Big Apple with a little lad who is searching for his pet dragon. The beauty of this picture book is how Light has created a captivating counting story using inviting pen-and-ink illustrations that yield beautiful surprises as young readers seek and find the cheeky dragon. All the while your child may be looking out for the hidden-in-plain sight dragon, you’ll be noticing humorous little gems that Light’s illustrated to keep you on your toes.  Take the monkey, for example, just under the dragon fountain. He’s reaching for the zookeeper’s keys!

From Central Park to China Town, with patches of pinks and reds and purples scattered throughout the pages, there is simply so much to see and enjoy in Have You Seen My Dragon?  I have no doubt you’ll agree that this picture book has everything youngsters want in a picture book and then some. Enjoy your trip!

Click here for activities, author notes and more.

Simplicity in Numbers

Posted on

OneGOrillaTake one look at this book cover and you’ll know why I couldn’t wait to open it up and read it. Look at that illustration! Plus I recently went to Miami Metro Zoo recently and observed gorillas for a while and was completely enamored as they were using sign language with the zookeeper. By the way, after that zoo visit I was compelled to find out why gorillas have that huge and strangely shaped head. The reason is that it needs to support their super-sized temporal muscles that are required to help them chew all the fibrous veggies they eat. They do not eat meat! Yet I digress …

One Gorilla: A Counting Book ($16.99, Candlewick Press, Ages 3-5) is simple, just like a counting book for wee ones should be. But it is also wonderful because the illustrations are extraordinary. Author/illustrator Anthony Browne, a recent Children’s Laureate in Great Britain, has penned and illustrated more than 40 books! His attention to detail makes these pictures worth lingering over for a really long time.

The book features 10 different primates, plus has a little bit of a clever ending. From the book jacket, colorful inside front and back covers to each and every page, it is a visual wonderland. Your little ones are sure to be motivated to learn how to count after reading One Gorilla. It may also invite you to open an initial discussion about evolution, if you so choose to do so.

– Reviewed by Debbie Glade


  ©Photo by Debbie Glade

Feeding time at the Miami Zoo sure is entertaining. Look closely: this big guy has an orange in his mouth.

Introducing Play-Doh Brand Board Books

Posted on

Rita Zobayan reviews the new

Play-Doh: Where Learning and Creativity Take Shape series.

Counting Bunnies, Making Shapes with Monkey, Mama’s Little Ducklings, Rainbow Butterflies ($6.95 each) and Let’s Get Creative Jumbo Sticker Book ($12.95) are written by Michele Boyd and illustrated/digitally composed by Kara Kenna; ages 0-3; Silver Dolphin Books


For many children, Play-Doh is a gateway for letting their imaginations come to life. Want to swim under the sea even though you live nowhere near the ocean? Sculpt some fish and a reef, and you have your own underwater world. Play-Doh has taken the creativity of its products, added a serious cuteness factor, and produced the sturdy Where Learning and Creativity Take Shape board book series, ideal for children three years and older (Silver Dolphin Books, 2013; $6.95 each). Each book is brightly colored with digitally composed illustrations of Play-Doh creations.  You’ll want to reach out and touch the pictures that seem like real Play-Doh creations.  The text is simple and fun.


Counting Bunnies features a group of adorable bunnies counting from one to ten. Each page consists of the target number prominently displayed along with explanatory text and a number sense question (for example, What other groups of six do you see?). And, of course, let’s not forget the growing number of bunnies who do everything from talking on phones to growing dizzy on a merry-go-round to splashing in a pool.

212-380-Product_LargeToMediumImage-thumbMaking Shapes with Monkey includes a simple rhyme scheme with Monkey and his friends identifying basic shapes: circle, square, triangle, rectangle, star, and diamond. Silly friend Squirrel stopped by to say, “Can you make me a special kite today?” There are colorful shapes in the sky. Can you name the shapes soaring up so high?  The shapes are embedded into the pictures, making it fun for the young reader to spot. What shapes make up the flowers? The bird house is made from which five shapes?


212-374-Product_LargeToMediumImage-thumbRainbow Butterflies introduces the colors of the rainbows plus perennial favorite, pink. Each color features a hidden butterfly and a finding question (for example, What other yellow things do you see?) on pages choc-full of colored creatures and items. Now we spy with our little eyes the lovely orange butterfly. Not to mention the orange cat, sun, balloon, flowers, and butterflies.


212-375-Product_LargeToMediumImage-thumbMama’s Little Ducklings is a lift-the-flap book that tells the story of Mama Duck as she readies for her eggs to hatch and then realizes one is missing! (The mischievous egg rolled away!) Follow Mama and her colorful crew as they ask their fellow creatures if they can help.   Mama Duck and her four ducklings waddled down the path and into the river. “Has anyone seen my missing egg?” asked Mama Duck. “Not here,” said the fish with a glug-glug-glug! If little eyes look carefully, they will see the yellow polka-dotted egg hiding in each section.


212-383-Product_LargeToMediumImage-thumbThe Let’s Get Creative Jumbo Sticker Book ($12.95) features over 300 reusable stickers in eight different sections—Building Blocks, All about Animals, Under the Sea Surprises, Travel and Adventure!, Let’s Go to School, At Home, Fun with Food, and Exploring Nature. There are plenty of pages to create your own scenes, as well as pages with guided themes. To add to the fun (and, ssshhh, learning), there are question-and-answer and suggestion pages that encourage critical thinking. Boy or girl, whatever their interests, there is something for everyone in this jumbo book of sticker fun!