Anno's Counting Book

Book review by
Ann Marie Sammataro, Common Sense Media
Anno's Counting Book Book Poster Image
Book gently encourages kids to compare and count.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that pastoral scenes, rendered in bright watercolors and containing a multitude of intriguing details, capture readers' attention, and the format invites them to respond to the changing landscape of objects.

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What's the story?

How did our ancestors account for things without a number system or words with which to express themselves? Observation of the natural world, the author proposes. This deceptively simple idea forms the basis of this stunning picture book. Composed without words, Anno's work relies on detailed illustrations to stimulate children's natural curiosity, gently encouraging them to compare and count.


Is it any good?

This extraordinary counting book has both great kid appeal and a sound educational basis. Mitsumasa Anno's systematic increase of objects in the illustrations naturally leads young children to count. His illustrations invite extended examination and are the source of the book's success.

The pictures' myriad details are real kid-pleasers -- careful observers can seek out subtle hints indicating what will develop next in the town, discover what the woman is hanging on her laundry line, notice what the children are playing with, etc. All the while, the reader is absorbing fundamental ideas and basic building blocks of mathematical understanding. Very young children can benefit too, with the assistance of an adult.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about counting and sets. After examining the book, examine objects around you and organize them in sets to count.

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