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Counting Books

One Duck Stuck
by Phyllis Root, illustrated by Jane Chapman
(Walker Books)
A very welcome big book edition of a favourite of mine, and in my experience, of many young children too. Set in a sleepy, slimy marsh the story begins with one duck getting stuck in the muck. A whole host of animals from two fish … Splish, splish, … five frogs … to ten zooming dragonflies respond to the oft-repeated call to help him out of his mucky predicament. No luck however: our duck remains firmly stuck until the would-be rescuers realise the need for cooperation. Finally with them all pulling together, a somewhat dirty duck emerges with a splendidly satisfying Spluck!
   The story is immediately engaging and all involving. Not only that, its rhythmic telling is full of natural repetition and enormously enjoyable rhymes and alliteration as well as such wonderful sounding words as splish, clomp, pleep, plop, plunk, sloosh, slosh, slink, zing and splunk. Not every popular picture book works in big book format: this one, with its large clear text printed in yellow against a dark green background, is a fine example of a publisher getting it just right.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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Handa’s Hen
by Eileen Browne
(Walker Books)
One morning when Handa goes to feed Grandma’s black hen Mondi she doesn’t come, so, together with her friend Akeyo, Handa sets out to find her. As they search the village, fields and bush they come upon ‘two fluttery butterflies, ‘three stripy mice,’… nine shiny starlings,’. Then finally as they walk sadly back from the water hole, Handa hears, ‘cheep cheep, cheep cheep…’ and when they peep into the undergrowth there is Mondi with ten fluffy chicks.
An absorbing hide and seek counting story with glowing water colour paintings of the flora and fauna of a south-west Kenyan village and its environs. Explore the beautiful landscape and see how many animals you can spot altogether in this highly welcome sequel to Handa’s Surprise.
Number range 1-10
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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Little Miss Muffet Counts to Ten
by Emma Chichester Clark
(Andersen Press)
In this story, Little Miss Muffet isn't scared away by the spider and keeps eating while she is visited by an increasing number of other animals. The text uses the familiar rhythm of the nursery rhyme and the colourful illustrations provide plenty to talk about and count.
Rated a must for KS1 by the teacher who tested it.
Number range 1-10
32 pages    ISBN 0862649668
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Little Puppy Rap
by Alan Trussell-Cullen and Astrid Matijasevic
This book starts with 10 puppies who leave one at a time until there are none left. Useful for showing the link between counting back in ones and taking away 1. The rhyming text has a strong rap rhythm with one verse per page.
Number range 1-10
16 pages   ISBN 0435013351

One, Two, Three ...Off to the Sea
by Wendy Body Illustrated by Steve Smallman
(Pelican Big Books)
A funny counting book about a group of aliens going to the sea. The story emphasises that counting in ones is the same as adding. The text rhymes and the lovely illustrations include speech bubbles.
Number range 1-10
24 pages    ISBN 0582333636
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Out for the Count by Kathryn Cave and Chris Riddell
(Frances Lincoln)
When Tom can't sleep, he tries counting sheep but the sheep take him to another world where he meets tigers, pirates and other hazards in large numbers. The illustrations are wonderful - huge spreads with gorgeous animals and an inset picture with shadow creatures grouped in tens to make counting easier. A marvellous book which is a delight to read aloud. Children will love it.
Links to place value. Number range 12, 23, 36, 45, 54, 61, 70, 88 and 97
KS1/early KS2
32 pages ISBN 0711215375
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