a whale of a counting ride!

by Tomoko Ohmura – Gecko Press, 2014
ages baby to 8 years / funny, s.t.e.m.

Counting is fun. Counting backwards is even more fun. Counting funny animals backwards — best!

In this totally charming book, animals line up roughly by size—and there’s a bossy seagull who keeps them all in line while they wait.

The animals make cheeky jokes, push and shove each other and play a game of animal Word Chain.

It’s all lots of fun and things build to a surprising and funny climax.

The impatient animals start to complain, the rhino threatens to charge, things start to look a little tense and the seagull announces:

Thank you for waiting! Come this way, but please stay in line!”

So the animals file, in a very orderly fashion, … on to the back of a Whale! And take off on a raucous ride.

It’s pretty hilarious stuff and at the end of the ride the animals agree:

That was fun!”  “I loved that!” “Can we do it again?”

As well as being heaps of fun to read, there are plently more reasons to love this book:

There’s lots of great numbering and ordering happening—the animals line up and are counted backwards from 50. It’s fun to look for a pattern, are they lining up by size? (Not quite.) By species? (Sometimes.) You probably won’t find a pattern that holds for the entire line (I couldn’t anyway) but it’s fun to look.

The animals include a mix of the familiar and the obscure—which is great for learning about new animals. Great too for children who have an animal obsession: they get to show off their knowledge.

It's amusing to play along with the animals—playing Word Chain is tricky when you’re new to spelling, but seeing the words in print is an extra hint.

There's fun and complex math awaiting for the measurement infatuated! Would all those animals really fit on the back of a whale? I have no idea!

It’s great for mixed-age reading—younger children can point to the animals as older children name them.

A small reading hint:

This isn’t a narrative tale, it’s a bit more like reading a cartoon. The words are all dialogue, so you’ll need to distinguish which animal is saying what and I always think the easiest way to do that is to point to the one doing the speaking. But if you’re really good, you could try making different voices and make a guessing game of which animal is speaking when.

This is a cute book, with appealing animals doing funny things—the sort of things you might remember doing too. And your child could be doing them now!

Amazon  -  Book Depository

Book Depository has free postage anywhere in the world and great pricing, but Amazon might be cheaper for North American readers.