CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 21 . . . . June 8, 2007
In this counting book which deals with the numbers from one to 10, toddlers, as the title indicates, are invited to “count the birdies” (sparrows, hummingbirds or bluebirds) which are to be found in each of the 10 pages of illustrations. The book utilizes a consistent format with each pair of facing pages consisting of the appropriate number, as both a numeral and in its spelled out form, appearing on the left-hand page and Porter’s “bird” illustration appearing on the right hand page. An accompanying press release says that Porter’s illustrations are rendered in acrylic on wood and that they are “based on Japanese woodcuts.”
The board book format suggests that the book’s audience is to be found principally among those younger children whose small motor skills are still at a point that limits some children’s ability to handle “normal” paper pages without tearing or folding them. If that is actually the intended target group, then Porter needed to pay a bit more attention to how he “distributed” the birds connected to the higher numbers since the birds’ somewhat scattered placement increases the likelihood that some children will recount birds and thereby arrive at an incorrect total.
Although children are only directed to “count the birdies,” once they have mastered the numbers from one to 10, adults can extend the book’s counting possibilities by creating their own questions which call for children to count other elements found in Porter’s illustrations, questions such as “How many petals are on the flower? How many leaves are on this page? How many birds are perching, and how many birds are flying?”
A good individual purchase, Count the Birdies is also a worthy purchase by libraries serving the very young and preschool child care facilities.
Dave Jenkinson teaches in the Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.