Hidden Gems: Unusual Alphabet and Counting Books

While looking for books about letters and numbers for my younger groups, I stumbled upon several hidden gems that I had never noticed in our collection. These four caught my attention, and all for different reasons:

I spy two eyesI Spy Two Eyes: Numbers in Art by Lucy Micklethwait

Lucy Micklethwait has selected classic works of art and created a really interesting counting challenge. I love that this book combines art history with numbers. Each page begins with “I spy” and tells the reader how many objects in the famous artwork you need to find. This book is simple and sophisticated at the same time.

Ten birdsTen Birds by Cybèle Young

Ten Birds counts down from 10. With lovely black and white illustrations, it tells the simple story of ten birds trying to cross a river. The pictures alone make this book worth looking at, and the charming, simple text is a great way to get kids counting.

When sheep cannot sleepWhen Sheep Cannot Sleep by Satoshi Kitamura
This one is an old favourite. It follows Wooly, the sheep, who finds himself awake at night and decides to take a walk. This is a subtle counting book: if you’re not looking for one butterfly or two ladybugs, this would make an equally enjoyable bedtime story. On his journey, Wooly experiences the world of night animals and plants. The reader has to figure out what they are meant to count on each page–from the 7 rungs of a ladder that Wooly climbs to pick apples, to the 22 ZZZs as Wooly falls asleep. An adorable and satisfying read.

The z was zappedThe Z was Zapped by Chris Van Allsburg

I didn’t know that Chris Van Allsburg had written an alphabet book! Each page presents a beautifully shaded letter with something happening to it, and the reader has to connect the letter and the action: “A” appears to be pelted with stones, and as we turn the page, we find that “The A was in an Avalanche.” Not only is this book clever, but it challenges its readers to guess before the answer is revealed. Chris Van Allsburg is a perennial favourite, and this one is worth looking at.

These books bring letters and numbers alive, and are worth looking at for their great illustrations, fun stories, or interesting puzzles.




About CSL Children's Department

The Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library has a long tradition in the city. The library has many amazing features which includes a fantastic children's department. We thrive on providing the best service possible and making each library experience a positive one.
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