Counting Crows

Book review by
Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media
Counting Crows Book Poster Image
Unique counting book has simple art, playful text and story.

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Fun counting book with opportunities for addition and subtraction practice; also, crows are grouped in threes for introduction to multiplication. Fun wordplay with silly, unique rhymes. Might encourage discussion of ecological systems: Birds eat bugs, and cats want to eat birds.

Positive Messages

Counting is fun and playful; so are math operations.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Crows are happy and playful; cat is patient.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Counting Crows is a silly counting book by Newbery finalist and two-time National Book Award nominee Kathi Appelt that involves sweater-clad crows, the food they eat, and a hungry cat. Rob Dunlavey's simple pencil-drawn illustrations digitally rendered are the best part. Boisterous crows in red-and-white-striped sweaters supply energy and fun, and unique rhyming text adds even more joyful excitement. The concept of grouping in threes may be a bit confusing for the youngest readers, but they may not care. Readers of all ages will more likely just enjoy the rhythm and whimsy.

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What's the story?

Readers count crows that land on each page, mostly in threes, searching for snacks to eat: 3, 6, 9, 10, 11, then 12. They find and devour roly-poly bugs, mangoes, peanuts, ants, crackers, and so on. But these are no ordinary crows. Looking a bit like Heckle and Jeckle of cartoon fame, these birds are full of fun and energy. Each one sports a striped red-and-white sweater, and one wears a long red scarf. Not only do they eat, but they also hop, sing, and cackle, until suddenly a cat appears and off they fly, again in groups the reader can count. 

Is it any good?

COUNTING CROWS is one of the most entertaining counting books you'll find. The whimsical, energetic illustrations alone are enough to make it a keeper, but unique rhymes coupled with a story that holds it all together make it remarkable. Kids as well as parents will enjoy reading and playing with the silly crows as they come and go in their search for delectable snacks.

Pages are full of opportunities for counting, matching, multiplying, and subtracting, as well as playing with rhymes and searching for details in the penciled drawings. What fun! 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk crows. Do they really wear sweaters and scarves? What do they eat? Where do they nest? Why does the cat end up wearing the scarf? 

  • Which other counting books have you read? How is this one similar? How is it different? 

  • Why does the author put the birds in groups of three? Why do you think she changed that pattern from 9 to 12? Do crows always travel in groups? Why would they?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love counting and picture books

Themes & Topics

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