Reviews /

How to Count to One

Authored by Caspar Salmon
Illustrated by Matt Hunt
Published by Nosy Crow

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How To Count to One is a fun, interactive, participatory picture book for young readers which dares them not to count beyond one – a task more difficult than you might think, even for the youngest readers! It is a book which needs to be read in its entirety – starting with the blurb on the back and the title and subtitle on the front – to ensure full enjoyment and engagement.

The graphic, two dimensional illustrations, the mixture of handwritten and san serif fonts and the double page spreads draw the reader and the listener in by challenging the listener to only count to one – and not even to think about bigger numbers. The chatty, almost bossy text engages the children from the outset and the invitation to disagree and talk to the book (or its human narrator) generates peals of laughter and shouts of frustration.

It is a book which needs to be read by the narrator first to be able to rehearse the lines and build in pauses and inflection which prompt the listeners to respond – the dramatic lines sometimes appear after the turn of the page and it works much better if you are aware of what is to come. As an introduction to the concept of one and to the process of subitising, it would be an excellent book for the maths classroom as well as a brilliant read aloud, particularly for those days when you need to re-energise a class of tired and grumpy children!