Counting books are a dime a dozen, and unfortunately, most of them are boring, no-brainer reiterations of the same number/object sequence. Of course, that’s not to say that these don’t serve their purpose for infants, but beyond the age bracket of, say, under 12 months, I think toddlers (and their parents) will need something more creative to sustain their interest.
Enter, stage left, The Number Garden, a quirky book that is the antithesis of a simple counting book — yet it can function as just that if you wish.
The book starts off with the number 1 (also spelled out) and on the facing page is the word sun and a large image of it. This is where it gets interesting: the sun is actually printed on a large square flap that can be opened up to reveal a plain landscape with a rising sun. Next, the number 2 spread shows two rabbits, and the flap opens up to reveal the same landscape, but this time the sun has risen up a little higher and the two rabbits are now in the picture, admiring the sunrise. This format of more and more objects being added to the landscape — each time in new, quirky ways — continues until the number 12, when all 78 objects are incorporated into the final spread.
The great thing about this book is that it kinda grows with the child as he/she learns to appreciate the little details in the illustrations, and I love how the different objects interact to tell a coherent story without using any words — a clear notch above what most of the counting books out there are offering.