Written and Illustrated by Katie Veggers
Eightbear Press, 2014
1 fox in a pair of socks
The plot in a nutshell: It’s a counting book that displays increasing quantities of animals
Starting with the one fox, the book goes up to twenty, with different animal species for each number. When you get up to four, we start seeing variation in the species, when the four sharks (on their marks) are represented by a gray reef shark, a hammerhead, a blue shark and a great white. There are multiple types of lots of different animals here, including goats, pigs and baboons. Cats show a huge amount of diversity, ranging from an American shorthair to a lion. There are also numbers that just show one type of animal, such as raccoons or ants. When you get to 16 chickens reading Dickens, the variation is in the book they’re reading. The final pages recap the numbers in a list with smaller versions of the pictures.
This is the second book from author/illustrator Katie Viggers and it’s a companion to her first book, Almost an Animal Alphabet. Most of the number and animal combinations rhyme, but not all of them do (‘2 gorillas looking in mirrors’) so if that kind of things bothers you, consider yourself warned. Personally, I don’t mind getting thrown a curve ball in a book like this, especially if it lets the author step away from the overused rhyme or alphabet word.
The artwork is done in watercolor and offers one of the best reasons to recommend the book, with excellent representations of lots of different types of animals. Personally, I had no idea there were that many different types of baboons. Inside the book’s back cover is a map of the world with pictures of the animals placed in the places where they are most commonly found, which is an extra bonus tidbit for the curious reader. There are also lots of fun details here, so make sure you read the badges on all 18 badgers or you might miss something. It’s a great counting book recommendation, especially if your little one is an animal lover.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that just because a book appears to be a ‘counting book,’ doesn’t mean it isn’t teaching you more than that.