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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

from 1 to 10, by Mies Van Hout. Pajama Press, 2019. $19.95 ages 2 and up




Sicily is in preschool this year, and has become very interested in numbers. Her return from a morning at school has her, chalk in hand, planning her next hopscotch game. She jumps from square to square calling out the names of all numbers from one to ten ... and sometimes to eleven and twelve if she wants an extra jump. I love watching her on video as she grasps the concepts and uses them for new learning.

Counting from 1 to 10 is a romp with this attractive, beautifully designed concept back. Front endpapers begin with 1 and end with 10, while the ones in the back begin with 10 and count down to 1. That is a worthwhile learning experience in itself.

Opening to the first page, a big-bellied bear is placed on a bold teal blue background and the text reads '1 belly'. Unexpected, yes. Funny, indeed. Much appreciated, you bet! Who else has 1 belly? Each page turn adds bold color, appealing animal characters and a new number. Young readers are encouraged to count the items described, then move on.

The artist inspires constant touching by making the countable elements large and obvious, through text and art. Kids won't stop at counting the named features, they will want to show off their counting prowess with counting so much more. How many hairs on the monkey's head? How many toes does the crocodile have? How many spots on the fish's body?

In back matter, the author offers five ways for parents and caregivers to encourage children to be involved in counting activities beyond the obvious ones in this book, and then to their greater world. A world of fun and color that builds confidence in new learning, and provides for pure joy in sharing the book's pages. They will soon be reading it all by themselves, and you will be reading it again as well.

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