Anno’s Counting Book by Mitsumasa Anno is one of the best math picture books for children that I have used with kindergartners and first graders. This wordless counting book shows a changing countryside through various times of the day and seasons. It introduces counting and number values from one to twelve. On each page, you can find several groups of items representing the illustrated number, such as 4 fish, 4 trees, and so on. The number is also represented by stacked cubes at the side of the illustration. The book contains one-to-one correspondence, groups and sets, and many other mathematical relationships. I purchased the Big Book version so that the entire class could easily see each picture.
Here are a couple of activities that you might try with the book.
1) “Read” the book to the children and discuss what is happening. The following questions will help the children to connect what is occurring in the book:
a) What time of year is it when the story begins? Ends? How do you know?
b) What are the seasons that you see throughout the book?
c) How is the village changing?
d) What kinds of transportation do you see?
e) Compare and contrast what the children are doing in each scene.
2) Discuss what happens to the trees as the season change in the book. Are there different kinds of trees in the book? How do you know? (color of leaves, size, etc.)
a) Have the students fold a 9” x 12” sheet of paper into fourths.
b) Have them write the name of a season in each section. (summer, fall winter, spring)
c) Have them draw the same tree in each section, but show how it looks in summer, fall, winter and spring.