Book Bites: Keep 'Em Counting!

ABCs and 1 2 3s are not only the fundamental building blocks for learning and communicating, they establish connections with ourselves, our cultures and humanity as a whole. These next few picture books are perfect for exploring those connections, introducing sounds, letters and numbers to pre-schoolers whilst providing sound material for ever important reading time, during lockdown time or anytime!

B is For Baby
ABC books come in an infinite number of guises. This one is singularly different because it focuses on just one letter of the alphabet rather than all 26, in this case, the letter B. We begin with the obvious, Baby but as the story evolves, we and baby are introduced to a marvellous collection of other B words: beads, basket for example. But what is in the basket…? Bananas of course! Or is it something more? This spectacularly illustrated non-fiction picture book is really a cyclical visual journey of baby’s unplanned journey from her African village into town where she is reunited with another family member. Brimming with beautiful strong colour and imagery, B is for Baby possesses the vibrancy of a bougainvillea in full bloom and the crisp joy of diversity and discovery. Clever intuitive fun. Highly recommended.

Title: B is for Baby
Author: Atinuke
Illustrator: Angela Brooksbank
Publisher: Walker Books, $16.99
Publication Date: April 2020
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 97891406390872
For ages: 0 – 5
Type: Non Fiction Picture Book

Buy the Book: Walker Books Australia, Boomerang Books, Booktopia

Six Sleepy Mice
One day, in a kitchen clean and empty, six sneaky mice creep on the hunt for treats! After gorging themselves they tumble into a food induced slumber but are soon rudely disturbed by the lady of the house who chases them from room to room, through dirty laundry, piles of bears, and shrieking boys all the way down the stairs into the wild garden. Will they ever get to sleep off their meal? Author illustrator, Heidi Cooper-Smith takes children on a glorious romp through a familiar family home setting from a mouse’s teeny point of view. As the furry gang stumble from one collection of chaos to another looking for a place to rest their bulging tummies and escape the wrath of mum’s broom, our challenge is to keep track of all six. Cooper-Smith’s use of warm bright colours, luminous detail and rythmic narrative keeps young eyes and ears trained to every page. Delicious absorbing counting fun.

Title: Six Sleepy Mice
Author: Heidi Cooper-Smith
Illustrator: Heidi Cooper-Smith
Publisher: Little Pink Dog Books, $24.95
Publication Date: August 2019
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780648256359
For ages: 3 – 6
Type: Picture Book

Buy the Book: Little Pink Dog Books, Boomerang Books, Booktopia

Ten Little Figs
Another book that employs the musicality of rhyme to deliver a gentle lilting tale about one little boy’s desire to snag himself a fig or two, is Ten Little Figs. In the back garden a fig tree stands tall and laden with delicious ripe figs, just perfect for a boy who loves figs. He counts ten but as he observes nature’s creatures helping themselves to his figs, he ponders how he will get them, noting each subtraction as his figs disappear. This Australian orientated counting story introduces youngsters to the majestic sandpaper fig tree, some fig-loving native animals and birds whilst reinforcing the numbers 1- 10.

Title: Ten Little Figs
Author: Rhiân Williams
Illustrator: Nathaniel Eckstrom
Publisher: Walker Books Australia, $24.99
Publication Date: April 2020
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781921977312
For ages: 3 – 7
Type: Concept Picture Book

Buy the Book: Walker Books Australia, Boomerang Books, Booktopia

Anisa’s Alphabet
Anisa’s Alphabet is a picture book that utilises the concept of ABC to narrate a young refugee girl’s story of fleeing from her war-torn home to her subsequent wild and fear-filled journey across stormy seas to what she hopes is salvation and a new life. Never before have simple letters carried so much weight as Anisa narrates her tale of camp life, sea voyage, disaster and eventual rescue. The notable thing about Anisa’s tale is that although we reach the end of the alphabet along with Anisa in the dusty forlorn compounds of a refugee detention camp, her story of course is not yet over. She will continue to dream and we the readers are left to ponder how long her dreams will sustain her. Will she one day be able to begin another letter story that reflects her yearnings for a life of freedom and security like the ones she continues to draw in her notebook? This poignant picture book exhibits duality with serious tenderness, providing several levels of learning and discussion. A touching introduction to change, language and world matters of humanity by accomplished picture book story tellers: Mike Dumbleton and Hannah Sommerville.

Title: Anisa’s Alphabet
Author: Mike Dumbleton
Illustrator: Hannah Sommerville
Publisher: MidnightSun Publishing, $ 29.99
Publication Date: March 2020
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781925227574
For ages: 4+
Type: Picture Book

Buy the Book: (Part proceeds from these book sales will be donated to the Australian Refugee Association.) MidnightSun Publishing, Booktopia


Norah Colvin said…
A great collection, Dimity - such fun books for children to count on.
DimbutNice said…
LOL, I see what you did there, Norah! Pun intended?! If no, no matter; they are full of fun and importance! :-D

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