Jenny's 2009 Picks
1 2 3: A Child’s First Counting Book
by Alison Jay
Alison Jay helps even youngest book lovers feel knowledgeable. In all of her books, beginning with her first, Picture This, her interlinked visual details have helped budding readers pick up on clues to a larger story—the canon of nursery rhymes and fairy tale lore. In 1 2 3: A Child’s First Counting Book (a companion to A B C: A Child’s First Alphabet Book), “1 one little girl sleeping” in the opening scene plays the heroine in the fairy tales to follow, as the narrative counts up to 10 and down again. The numeral “2” features the once-sleeping girl riding a giant bird with “two soaring wings” (this bird turns out to be the goose that lays “nine golden eggs” a little later). Other duos dot the landscape: two squirrels, an owl couple, and a pair of pigs. The two pigs, sporting smart sailor suits and stripes, are on their way to visit the third, which nicely leads into the next spread, “three little pigs” (inside the third pig's home, additional fun details await, such as three umbrellas by the door, three tea cups on the table, and three cupcakes on a serving tray)—clearly laying out the nature of the game for youngest storytelling fans. The threatening wolf outside the window of the third pig’s house shows up later in a Little Red Riding Hood scene (with his “ten sharp teeth”). Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, and Snow White (with her “seven marching dwarfs,” naturally), among many others, all make appearances, allowing your youngsters plenty of opportunities to participate in this storied guessing game. A key in the back helps readers figure out the more challenging puzzles.