Counting Books for Preschoolers

Posted on December 28, 2018

by Heidi Y

How High Can They Go?

Stack the Cats by Susie Ghahremani

Stack the Cats by Susie Ghahremani

“Crisp, bold illustrations introduce simple math concepts…A simple yet clever lesson that there’s more than one way to stack some cats.” (“School Library Journal” – Starred Review)

I’ve had dogs and cats pretty much my entire life, usually at the same time. There has been the occasional gerbil; two large white rats, yes, rats; two hamsters (the first was used by my son as a fuzzy ball which didn’t work out so well, neither for the hamster nor my son), and one Siamese Betta Fighting Fish during grad school named Raphael. He was an intense color of cobalt blue and he lived to the grand old age of 2 years. But no one has ever proven to me that for all the above-mentioned domestication, any animal is more intelligent, or amazing, or cozy, or impossibly independent than the house cat.

“Eight cats try, but…eight cats can tumble. Nine cats agree to three, three, and three.” This book introduces concepts in math not usually seen in children’s learning books. Different than other counting books, this wonderfully simple telling of how cats might want to do everything cats do, play, romp, sleep, and chase yarn creates an easy to follow narrative for beginning mathematicians. The unusual color palette of mostly teals, orange, black and white compliment the cats and their antics in a fresh way. Again, usually in learning books, primary colors are used. “Stack the Cats” use of black outline intensifies the subtle deviations the author wants to make from other stories which came before.

For anyone who has owned more than one cat, there certainly is more than one way you can stack cats. In a picture book no less. Warning: try these strategies at home and you will learn other valuable lessons you can achieve in no other way. Simply put, watch out for all those claws and teeth.

Stack the Catsby Susie Ghahremani is one of the great books included in the 101 Picture Book Challenge.

Reading Beyond the 101 Picture Book List

More Fun Counting Books for Children

Push! Dig! Scoop! By Rhonda Gowler Greene
Push! Dig! Scoop!: A Construction Counting Rhyme By Rhonda Gowler Greene

In this variation on the classic song “Over in the Meadow,” mother and father trucks show their youngsters how to build down at the construction site, from “mama bulldozer with her little dozer one” to “mama steamroller with her little rollers ten.”

Numeralia by Jorge Lujan
Numeralia by Jorge Lujan

A lyrically abstract celebration of numbers depicts a world where three is for bedtime kisses, five is for secret creatures hiding in a glove, and an ugly duckling that proves to be not so unattractive.

One Too Many: A Seek and Find Counting Book by Gianna Marino
One Too Many: A Seek and Find Counting Book by Gianna Marino

Children count from one jumping flea to twelve frisky animals until, at last, they reach one too many.

Crash! Boom! : A Math Tale by Robie H. Harris
Crash! Boom! : A Math Tale by Robie H. Harris

Elephant has a bucket of blocks and wants to build something tall. Something as tall as Elephant. But will it stay up?

Five busy beavers / Stella Parteniou Grasso ; [illustrated by] Christine Battuz
Five Busy Beavers by Stella Parteniou Grasso

Five little beavers, working feverishly to build a dam, are enticed one by one to leave their endeavor to play with other animals on the river bank, leaving one tired beaver to finish the job.

What is the 101 Picture Book Challenge?

The 101 Picture Book Challenge is here! We’ve chosen 101 Picture Books and we want you to read them, too! The Challenge is for anyone at any age. Librarians chose the list which includes classics, new titles and everything in between.

101 Picture Book Challenge book cover collage - Toledo Lucas County Public Library

How Do You Take the 101 Picture Book Challenge?

To get started, register online. You can track your progress online or if you prefer a paper log booklet, pick one up at your neighborhood Library. The books are organized into categories but you can read the books in any order and at your own pace. When you read all 101 titles, you earn a free picture book (while supplies last).

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