Counting Creatures by Julia Donaldson

cover image

Illus. by Sharon King-Chai. TwoHoots, 2020. ISBN: 9781529040517.
(Age: 3-5) Highly recommended. Children will be immediately drawn to the wonderful owl with her babies in a cut-out on the front cover and will beg for the book to be opened to see more of the beautiful illustrations inside. This is a counting book, but what a lovely one. Starting with a mother bat, coloured in black against a deep blue background, after lifting the flap the child will learn that she has 1 baby. On the opposite page, is the question "Who has more babies than that?" Turning the page, the reader will see a sheep and turning over the page will see 2 lambs, "One of them eating, The other bleating." It is fun to call out this refrain and guess how many babies the leopard, the wild dog, the owl, the fox, Artic hare, mouse, duck, potbelly pig, all counting up to 10. Children will learn the scientific names of the baby animals as they go along and then they will find out that a turkey has 15 poults, a butterfly has 20 caterpillars, the frog has 25 tadpoles and to top everything off the spider has lots of spiderlings. Then children have the opportunity to go back and count the spiders that appear all over the book.
The language is great to read aloud, with rhythm, rhyme and alliteration:
This wild dog has
4 pups
Nosing and nestling.
Writhing and wrestling
The illustrations are gorgeous, with vivid colours and lovely leaves and flowers in the background. Little children will love the slanting eyes of the birds and animals and will want to count each baby. The book is exceptionally well produced with a sturdy hard back cover and the pages are well stitched to allow for heavy use, as it is sure to become a popular re-read with pre-schoolers. Flaps and cut-outs too are in heavy paper, so with careful handling should remain intact.
This is a keeper, sure to be a favourite that is handed down to the next generation. You can see the book here.
Pat Pledger