This more-than-a-counting-book introduces things recognizable in numbered sets.
The compact, rhyming narrative rhetorically asks readers to think about numbers in the world, beginning and ending with eyes on the sky: “What in the world comes one by one? / A nose. A mouth. The moon. / The sun.” Young listeners who comprehend the world through the ways it can be measured will find this gripping and consoling. For little ones who like to enumerate their world, here’s an affirmation that much of it can be counted, appreciated for its finitude, and observed in its varied, living parts. The counting goes up through 10, looking at birds, insects, sea creatures, and deer in the seaside forest. “Three” invites discussion about the parts of bees—their bodies comprise head, thorax, and abdomen, but they also have wings and antennae. The word—sets—that has been implied all along appears near the end: “And what comes in sets too big to count?” Here, on the last two double-page spreads, a starry sky bears the faint outlines of each numbered thing that has come before—our human eyes impose order on the nearly limitless stars. Cyrus’ digitally rendered art uses solid dark outlines for objects and clear, rich tones for a feeling of spaciousness and peace.
Textured, visually rich, and gracefully simple, this is a fine blend of informative poetry and illustration. (Picture book. 2-6)