One, Two, Three!

Book review by
Ann Marie Sammataro, Common Sense Media
One, Two, Three! Book Poster Image
A rollicking journey from numbers one to 10.

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

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Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the bouncy rhymes and comical illustrations are tailor-made for preschoolers, who can learn about numbers while having buckets of fun. The numerals, however, aren't shown.

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What's the story?

In a refreshing departure from traditional counting books, ONE, TWO, THREE is a rollicking journey from numbers one to ten. The bright fuchsia cover, with the cut-out center revealing a chorus line of dancing hippos in top hats, is a beacon beckoning readers to join in on the fun. From that moment, readers are bedazzled by bright pictures and ebullient text.

Each sentence or verse about one of the numbers from one to ten has a matching illustration featuring the appropriate number of animals engaged in an activity. The book begins with one lone hippo on a sedate stroll; next are two cats enjoying a conversation. However, as the numbers increase, so does the boisterousness of the rhymes and pictures, culminating in a rowdy animal parade complete with instruments and confetti.

Is it any good?

ONE, TWO, THREE is a fine example of Sandra Boynton's signature style, which is consistently amusing and with an educational bent. A winning blend of whimsy and wry practicality, Boynton's light tone and bright illustrations are ideal for young children. Her illustrations greatly contribute to making this book as enjoyable as it is educational. Her quirky characters are vastly appealing to a kid's sense of humor.

From a purely educational perspective, one omission is glaring: The numerals themselves -- which would enable children to make the connection between the word two and the numeral 2, for example -- are missing from the pages.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about numbers. Together, count the animals in the picture out loud. Parents may want to take the further step of showing children the matching numerals.

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