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Counting Books

One Mole Digging a Hole
by Julia Donaldson and Nick Sharratt
(Macmillan)
Essentially this is a rhyming counting book, but it’s so much more than that. All the creatures are busy working in the garden, digging, raking, gathering fruit, flowers and vegetables until the final spread where we see them all, sporting sunglasses and enjoying a well-earned rest and a glass of juice in the sunshine – gardening’s thirsty work after all. There’s a wealth of humorous detail to explore and enjoy in Nick Sharratt’s highly patterned, glowingly garish pictures: his bees wielding shears are just bee-a-u-tiful!
(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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One is a Snail Ten is a Crab
by April Pulley Sayre and Jeff Sayre, illustrated by Randy Cecil
(Walker Books)
A bright, humorously illustrated counting book, but with something extra; there are lots of opportunities for investigative number work here. Using feet and a beach setting - 1 is a snail, 2 a person, 4 a dog, 6 an insect, 8 a spider and 10 a crab - we are shown the numbers one to ten and then examples (usually 2 for each) for twenty, thirty, forty, fifty etc. through to one hundred. There are however, many more possible combinations than the ones illustrated for each number: then of course there are all the other numbers in between…
This could set even the most reluctant mathematicians calculating.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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Click for Writing for Children 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. They all stay around and can be spotted and counted again in subsequent pictures until the crocodiles arrive and frighten everyone away. But the crocs turn out to be friendly and everyone comes back to enjoy Miss Muffet's birthday party. The rhyming text uses the familiar rhythm of the nursery rhyme and is a delight to read aloud while the lovely illustrations provide plenty to talk about and count. This book is fun to use at home and excellent for use in school as it offers a wealth of possible discussion and extension work in literacy and numeracy.  Highly recommended for 3-7 year olds and rated a must for Key Stage 1 by the teacher who tested it. (with thanks to Jan)
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Click for Writing for Children Nine Naughty Kittens 
by Linda Jennings and Caroline Jayne Church
(Little Tiger Press)
This excellent book uses cleverly designed half-page flaps to show the connection between counting and adding one (something not all children spot without a bit of a nudge). The maths is sound, the pictures are funny and the rhyming text is good to read aloud. A good choice for 2-6 year olds and could be used with slightly older children with special needs
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Click for Writing for Children Emeka's Gift by Ifeoma Onyefulu
(Frances Lincoln)
Emeka is a young Nigerian boy who goes in search of a present for his grandmother. The objects he looks at provide the counting element in this book while the simple story and excellent colour photographs give a realistic idea of life in a Nigerian village. A useful multicultural book for linking numeracy, literacy and geography.
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Click for Writing for Children March of the Dinosaurs by Jakki Wood
(Frances Lincoln)
Children love dinosaurs so this counting book is sure to catch their attention. Each number is illustrated by a different type of dinosaur accompanied by the correct name and its pronunciation as well as a simple line of text packed with adjectives. The tyrannosaurus picture is somewhat gruesome as it shows them eating two small dinosaurs. This upset my young tester (female) who thought they were eating their babies, but she was delighted by the final fold out picture which shows 12 eggs hatching. An eye-catching book suitable for children of 3-6 who are not easily frightened and also a good choice for older children with special needs.
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