Like most of Denise Fleming's picture books, Count! has minimal text, with the focus being on her bold, large, and vivid illustrations. Count! is not just your ordinary counting book that merely shows a number plus pictures representing that number on each page; the concept of counting by 10s is also introduced, and there are plenty of opportunities to incorporate large motor play while reading the book (there's not an actual story line), such as "4 kangaroos. Bounce, kangaroos!"
With some very minor adjustments to the text, I'm confident that Count the Monkeys will be a huge hit with my toddler group. With Mac Barnett's trademark clever humor, the reader/listener attempts to count monkeys on each page, although he/she/they are constantly interrupted by characters that scare off the monkeys.
Here's a chance to add diversity to a counting story time! (I would also include Feast for 10, but I read that not too long ago.) Nikko is supposed to be taking a rest, but he'd rather imagine that he's wrestling luchadores on his bed! Unfortunately, there's no information about lucha libre, the very popular Mexican wrestling style in which the wrestlers wear masks (definitely a shortcoming to this otherwise adorable and fun book), so do some research if you plan to share this with a child or a group (I'm just planning to tell my group that lucha libre is Mexican wrestling and that the wrestlers wear really cool masks, and leave it at that). Lucha libre has also been featured in some outstanding recent titles, including Dino-Wrestling, Lucha Libre: The Man in the Silver Mask, Maximilian & the Mystery of the Guardian Angel, and Nino Wrestles the World.
I'm honestly not a huge fan of the more recent Pete the Cat books, but I can't leave out Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons in a counting story time. Like my other favorite Pete book, I Love My White Shoes, Pete the Cat keeps his cool even the most confounding situations (while singing a very catchy tune).
We have many more counting books available at our libraries; just ask us for our (other) top recommended titles!
Jennifer Schultz, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library