Reviews /

Hello! A Counting Book of Kindness

Authored by Hollis Kurman
Illustrated by Barroux
Published by Otter-Barry Books Ltd

Hello! A Counting Book of Kindness is a bright, bold, colourful, fun book about one family’s journey to safety through various acts of kindness. From its amazingly bright endpapers to its use of bold blocks of colour throughout the text, it just oozes with emotion. The book is dedicated to ‘all the children who have made the journey…and to everyone who showed them kindness’.

The story is told through a counting sequence from one to ten. Each number is represented by a kind act. This family is fleeing from danger, number 1 and eventually finds itself in a foreign land, number 10. There are wonderful double-page spreads for each number. Using a very bold palette and lots of blocks of colour, the illustrations are simplistic in nature but very evocative and full of expression. Each spread shows a different part of the journey. ‘Three meals filling us up’. Where did they get food on the boat? ‘Four beds keeping us safe and warm’, something we all take for granted. How long were this family without beds? So many questions for little minds to ponder.

I have long been a fan of Barroux’s illustrations, and this certainly does not disappoint. The expressions on the characters’ faces are kept simple (Barroux style), but you are left in no doubt about the mood and the anxiety this family is feeling and indeed the happiness at the end of the number sequence of being safe and cared for, of belonging.

There is so much scope for discussion in this story. The plight of this family is a really hard concept for very young children to grasp, but the opportunities to explore feelings around the subject are immense. The simple non-sensational language fits beautifully alongside the illustrations. Each supporting the other. As we would expect and indeed hope, the conclusion is a good and happy one. Proving that kindness is a really powerful tool in the act of growing up.

This is a truly delightful book and a great addition to any nursery or early years class.