Review Blog

Nov 03 2015

Counting lions by Katie Cotton

cover image

Ill. by Stephan Walton. Frances Lincoln Children's Books, 2015. ISBN 9781847807212
(Age: all) Highly recommended. Animals, Endangered animals, Illustrative technique. A seemingly simple counting book with the most engaging illustrations of animals so close hairs can be counted, the very fact that these animals can be counted points to many being endangered or having reduced numbers as Virginia McKenna makes clear in her informative introduction.
Each of the animals represented reflects a different environment and way of life, and the almost poetic text points out some of their features which younger children will delight in, but sometimes a question at the end of each piece of text will increase their sensitivity to the plight of these animals.
So one lion stares at the reader, sitting in its place in the savannah, watching his rough and tumble pride, content to watch and wait. Then two gorillas, three giraffes, four tigers and five elephants, followed by six Ethiopian wolves, seven penguins, eight turtles, nine macaws and ten zebras invite the curious reader to read the text and look more closely at the glorious pencil illustrations. At the end of the book is a fact file about each animal's place in the world and here the endangered or threatened position of each is given.
What a wonderful counting book, introducing young children to the numbers one to ten and encouraging them to count the animals on each page. What a beautiful book to discuss illustration, but what an informative book for the curious, the questioning, those who wonder why these beautiful animals are threatened and question what can be done. One child will use this as a tool to learning to count, small groups of readers will love looking at this together, classes will use this as an introduction to their work about endangered animals.
Fran Knight

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