cover image Counting on the Woods

Counting on the Woods

George Ella Lyon. DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley), $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7894-2480-8

The lyrical text and crisp color photographs of this beguiling counting book invite readers to look closely at the natural world. The tone is set at the beginning, where a dynamic photograph of forest foliage balances against a smaller inset photo of a boy setting off on a journey through the woods: ""One path,/ a stick for a staff."" Readers next see two mourning doves perched in a black walnut tree: ""Two birds,/ daybreak's words."" The poem's gentle and reflective tone not only instructs readers to notice ""four worms"" digging in the ground but stretches the imagination by adding, ""how the earth turns."" While a few of Lyon's more elliptical or syntactically complex lines may be a bit challenging, Olson's photographs, taken in eastern Kentucky, shed light on their meaning and will delight nature-lovers of any age. Of further help, unobtrusive captions identify the birds and wildflowers in each picture. Teachers and parents seeking to help children appreciate the simple beauty to be found on a walk through the woods will treasure this exquisite book. Ages 2-7. (Mar.)