Baby Book Club – June

We’ve tackled some intense themes over the last few months, from Emotions through Diversity to Pushing the Boundaries, so I thought we’d lighten things up a bit for June and look at books about numbers.
I don’t believe that every experience your child has must be a learning one. There’s a lot of anxiety and hothousing that goes on around education and it can be counter-productive. If you want to introduce numbers early on, just keep it simple. Having some fun books around that introduce the concept of numbers in a relaxed way is a great start.

1,2,3 to the Zoo
by Eric Carle

1, 2, 3 to the zoo book

This is a very simple book, with no words, just the relevant number on each page.
Eric Carle’s gorgeous illustrations give you plenty to look at and talk about.
A train is taking animals to the zoo. There’s one elephant, two hippos, three giraffes and many more. There’s a mouse to find on every page and the train gets longer at the bottom of the page.
This is such a great way to start exploring numbers without any pressure.

Anno’s Counting Book
by Mitsumasa Anno

annos counting book

There are no words in this book either but so much to look at. Anno’s beautiful drawings follow a landscape across 12 months. On each new page, more trees, children, houses etc appear and the seasons slowly change. I can imagine some wonderful conversations about what’s happening, alongside some counting and comparing.

by Quentin Blake

cockatoos book

I make no apology for including two Quentin Blake books in this selection. He is one of my favourite illustrators, his books are so full of life and joy.
Cockatoos was one of my boys’ go to bedtime stories. We giggled our way through it as Professor Dupont searched high and low for his fine feathered friends.
On each page you can find one more bird than the last – cleverly and wittily hidden.

by Sandra Boynton

doggies book

Count and bark along with the different dogs on each page. Toddlers love repetition so going through the barks each time will really appeal – especially if you make the time to bark in ridiculous ways.
There’s a special surprise on the final page that will make everyone laugh.

Fish Eyes a book you can count on
by Lois Ehlert

fish eyes book

A rhyming, counting book with bright bold illustrations. You could simply read the book through and count the fish or challenge an older child to count the dots on each fish. There’s a nice little extra narrative from a fish that carries across the whole story too.

How many bugs in a box
by David A Carter

how many bugs in a box book

I loved pop up books as a child, I still do actually!
I would save this one for older children as there’s plenty of flaps to lift and explore. It could be quite fragile in an overenthusiastic toddler’s hands even though the text is nice and simple.

Mr Magnolia
by Quentin Blake

mr magnolia book

My second Quentin Blake story and it’s a cracker.
This one doesn’t seem like a counting book at first glance but if you look closer, you’ll see how it works.
Mr Magnolia has one trumpet, two lovely sisters, a frog, toad and newt in his pond… Each page has something new that you can count, finishing at 10 puddings for a dinosaur.
I love the subtlety of the numbers in this book, you can choose to use them or not. Either way, it’s a glorious story.

One Mole Digging a Hole
by Julia Donaldson

one mole digging a hole book

Julia Donaldson does it again. I love how effortless and yet unexpected her rhymes are.
Her books are so easy to read aloud that it makes any parent sound like a professional!
From snakes with rakes to storks with forks, this is a great fun way to start counting with your little ones.

One for the adults

Fahrenheit 451
by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451

I was intending to find a book about numbers that I could recommend to you but in the end I decided on this – a book with a number in the title!
I read Fahrenheit 451 last summer and can’t believe I hadn’t read it before. It’s a classic sci-fi story, published in 1953, it seems to shine a light straight into our lives today. It’s a pretty short book but so worth a read.