Anno's Counting Book
by Mitsumasa Anno
This book has taken on a whole new level of interest in the last few days, because Gideon has just begun allowing me to guide his hand in pointing to pictures on a page! And oh, what pictures there are to be seen in this wonderful book...
In Anno's Counting Book, we are invited on the lovely adventure of observing a burgeoning village... first, there is one building, a person or two, a scattering of trees, a small stream... and by the last page it is a bustling place, though still rustic and rural; more buildings and people, but farmland nonetheless.
The illustrations are my favorite kind- they remind me of Barbara Cooney's work, almost one-dimensional, but vivid in color, thoughtful in placement, simplistic in the most expansive way... less is more. More to ponder. More room in the mind to take in details. Blank spaces between figures and buildings allow even the youngest eyes to *notice*, and he points and "counts" and we make animal sounds and chime with the bells and "choo-choo" with the train that runs into the side of a hill and disappears into the tunnel.
Each page has a large, bold number on the right, and a stack of the same number of colored blocks on the left. The author's fascination with numbers is contagious, and you will find yourselves spotting all sorts of pairs (children carrying flowers or walking dogs) and additions (planted crops, farm animals multiplying) and subtractions (harvested crops - three stalks of corn on the "3" page are gone on the next) and divisions (the stream is cut in two by the bridge, and soon a road runs across) and so much more. At the end of the book is a page about numbers, where the author takes us back in time to observe perhaps the first way of counting and recording.
And the beauty of the story is that it can be told by counting, or just by observing. And we have done both, with great delight. (I realize I have used the word "observe" quite often in this review... that should give you a clue as to how much quality time you will want to spend with this book and your little one!)
I hope you find this treat at your library this week- or perhaps another of the same author's books, Anno's Alphabet!
More lovely reviews: