Book Recommendation: Anno’s Counting Book

annos-counting-book3For the young child in your family who is just learning to count, I recommend  Anno’s Counting Book by Mitsumasa Anno.

This beautifully illustrated picture book for numbers 0-12 is a delight!  Each of the double-page watercolor illustrations depicts a landscape.   In the right margin, the featured number appears.  In the left margin, there’s a column of 10 boxes.  The appropriate box for the featured number is colored in.

The book begins with a desolate, snow-covered landscape .  The only color is the light blue of a sky and a frozen river.  There is not one house, tree,  person or farmhouse.   Your child will grasp the “nothingness” of zero.

Turn the page for number 1 and 1 appears in the right margin.  On the left, box 1 is colored in the ten-box column. Now in the snowy terrain, we see a bridge across the river and one tree, one skier,  one snowman, one dog and one farmhouse.   Because there’s no text on the page, you and your child can make up your own story about the little village, its people, their activities and what they say to each other.

Turn the page to number 2.  It’s early spring.  The snow is melting; fields are turning brown.  We now see a church not far from the farmhouse as well as two trucks , two men, two pine trees, two children running.  Your child will have fun pointing out all the pairs on the page.   For number 3, it’s early spring and guess how many canoes are on the river?

The last illustration is number 12.  It’s Christmastime in the village!  Villagers gather in the snow round a Christmas tree as reindeer fly through the sky. Each of the twelve illustrations have chronicled the year.  Seasons pass as the little village grows, children play, crops are harvested and the clock on the church steeple marks the hour.

Have your child “read” to you as you turn each page.   The little village and its inhabitants provide lots of room for imagination.   A gem of a book!  Full parent participation is required to make the village come to life.

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