cover image How to Count to One (And Don’t Even Think About Bigger Numbers!)

How to Count to One (And Don’t Even Think About Bigger Numbers!)

Caspar Salmon, illus. by Matt Hunt. Nosy Crow, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 979-8-88777-024-6

“Hello! Welcome to a fun new counting book,” chirps the omniscient narrator of this amusing concept title. “Are you ready to start counting?” Almost immediately, however, it’s evident that Salmon, making his picture book debut, has created a narrator with an obsession: never counting above the number one. See the two big purple whales cavorting in the water? The narrator invites readers to count only the single sausage that’s improbably bouncing from one whale’s waterspout. On a page showing five mallards engaged in various anthropomorphized activities, the narrator insists on counting solely the inline-skating fowl: “No counting the other ducks, please!” Via shape-driven characters and washes of bright color, illustrations by Hunt (the Little People, Big Dreams series) exude a mid-century modern playfulness. But what drives the book forward is the comic gold of an authority figure gone wild: “What?! Did you think you would learn to count to big numbers like a HUNDRED?! WELL, NO!” When this solo interest propels readers through to the end, they should be inspired to go back through, counting everything in sight: 100 items in all. Ages 3–6. (June)