Counting and numbers books abound, many following the same old format: the number (i.e. “3”) with a picture of that number of objects (i.e. 3 kittens). While my daughter (currently 2 years old) enjoys some of the standard format numbers books, she really enjoys some of the more clever counting books out there. Below is a short list of some of our favorites, in no particular order.

Raindrop, Plop! by Wendy Cheyette Lewison and Pam Paparone
Raindrop, Plop! has a charming, rhythmic text that counts forward to ten and then back to one. Illustrations cleverly highlight the number being mentioned. For example, one page’s text reads, “Seven raindrops plop in a cup.” The picture is full of raindrops, but seven are drawn a bit more clearly and prominently.


Doggies (Boynton Board Books (Simon & Schuster)) by Sandra Boynton
Not only does Boynton’s tradmark illustrative style mark Doggies, but the dogs each bark uniquely and in a number according to the number on the page. The reader must be prepared to get creative with “ruffs,” “bow wows,” “arfs,” and so forth. The tenth animal is a cute surprise.


One Was Johnny: A Counting Book by Maurice Sendak
Sendak and his characters have a quirky way of connecting with young children and Johnny, “who lived by himself and liked it like that!” is no exception. This book counts up to ten and back to one.


Anno’s Counting Book by Mitsumasa Anno
My toddler doesn’t “get” Anno’s Counting Book entirely, but loves its pictures just the same. This book cleverly counts to twelve with no words or numbers. Each page is a new month of the year; each month’s number is revealed in the subtle illustrations and a stack of blocks in the margin. The month of April, for example would show seasonal weather/landscape and feature four of everything: buildings, children, adults, trees, flowers, etc.

Pigs Love Potatoes by Anika Denise and Christopher Denise
Pigs Love Potatoes is our latest favorite. Another book with delightful illustrations and a catchy, rhythmic text in which numbers of piggies and potatoes are embedded. “Now four pigs peel potatoes, and four pigs sit and wait, when four pigs’ next door neighbor comes strolling through the gate.” Lots of fun! Of course, “the very piggy piggies eat each and every bite” at the end!

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