This colorful, tactile French import introduces children to numbers and counting.
In both this book and its companion, Mr. Bear’s Little Shapes, Aracil introduces readers to preschool concepts through beautifully designed, touch-friendly elements. Mr. Bear’s Little Shapes is a catalog of basic and more advanced shapes, ranging from simple circles and triangles to stars and semicircles. The items chosen are accessible, and the pages are cleverly tabbed on the edges with die-cut shapes that together serve as a clever kind of index for tiny fingers. Unfortunately, the author mixes both three- and two-dimensional shapes, including spherical items such as balls and the moon for circle and tents and pyramids for triangle, requiring caregivers to back and fill on the details. Additionally, the circle and oval tabs are impossible to tell apart when the book is closed. Mr. Bear’s Little Numbers is more educationally sound and more fun for young readers as well: The numbers are embossed with a pebbly texture, encouraging children to trace their shapes while also counting the quirky collections of items. Unlike many beginning counting books, the pages go beyond the number 10, introducing children to 20, 30, 40, 50, and 100. Although most in the audience will not be able to count to 100, the pictures still give them a sense of the relative quantities in a fun and interesting way. The neon color palette and cartoonlike pictures are incredibly appealing visually—both stylish and fun.
A pleasing, well-designed book readers can return to. (Board book. 1-3)