A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
A flea bounces over a trough of water in the first scene, and he’s gradually joined by more and more farmyard animals -- two cows, then three horses, and so on until 12 bats swoop over the teeming, chaotic spread. Then one more surprise visitor arrives, and there’s a flutter of hooves and feathers before the trough is still for the night.
Is it any good?
Author/illustrator Gianna Marino serves up a refreshingly vibrant counting book, sure to engage kids just learning to count and those with more sophisticated math literacy skills. Each page introduces a new animal to the increasingly crowded barnyard scene, counting both the number of species and the number of animals: The fifth spread, for example, introduces five sheep. Through it all, the primordial flea leaps on one of the new arrivals in each two-page spread -- a clue to help kids spot the newcomers.
Kids can enjoy this as a rich seek-and-find, and can find a multitude of things to count. Marino includes a few suggestions for making new discoveries, such as searching for animals with their eyes closed, counting the cumulative number of animals, and identifying the unfortunate pig who always has something nibbling his ear. The interaction of the animals infuses the book with sly humor -- their faces speak volumes as they climb atop each other or find their tails being nibbled, make new friends, and just plain get in each other’s way.
Black and white animals dominate against a backdrop of sandy earth and an azure sky turning to sundown. As the pages get increasingly crowded, delightful details and expressive animals encourage close examination.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about different things to count in the book. Ask your kids to find -- or suggest yourself -- new things to find and count in the pages of the book -- animals with black ears, animals that fly, etc.
Find other things to count, around your house or in another favorite book.