Review of How Many? by Christopher Danielson

How Many?

A Different Kind of Counting Book

by Christopher Danielson

2019, Charlesbridge. First published in 2018 by Stenhouse Publishers. 39 pages.
Starred Review
2019 Sonderbooks Stand-out: #2 in Children’s Nonfiction Picture Books

I already loved Christopher Danielson’s earlier book, Which One Doesn’t Belong? It came to my attention when it won a Mathical Book Prize. Now Charlesbridge has taken on his books to hopefully reach a wider audience.

Here’s how the book explains that it is different from other counting books:

This book doesn’t tell you what to count.

It doesn’t start with small numbers and end with big ones.

Instead you decide what to count on each page. You have many choices.

The longer you look, the more possibilities you notice.

And that’s what you get. The illustrations are photographs. The pictures show things like an apple being cored and two shoes in a shoebox. The text asks, “How many do you see?”

After that first picture, the narrator says:

If you thought, “how many what do I see?” then you get the idea.

It does give examples of things you can count: shoes, pairs of shoes, shoelaces, holes for the laces, yellow stitches. And it asks, “What other things can you count?”

The pictures get interesting in different ways. There’s a picture of an egg carton with one egg in it. There’s a picture of eggs frying, one of which has a double yolk. The eggshells are by the stove, and the eggs that were not used are still in the carton next to the stove.

In other pictures, some fruit gets cut in half. We’ve got pictures of pizza, and then pizza in slices. Pictures toward the end show kitchen scenes with many of the things we already looked at – including shoes on the floor.

Questions at the back give you ways to extend the ideas. I do love that there are no answers anywhere in this book.

This is a wonderful book for curious children! It builds sophisticated mathematical ideas into preschool and early elementary school children. Anyone who has learned to count will have something to think about with this book.

As the author says at the end, “When you count carefully and clearly state what you’re counting, you’re doing some great math!”

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