Baby & Toddler
12 Counting Books That
Won’t Bore You
by Janssen Bradshaw
The thing about counting books is that there aren’t going to be a lot of surprises. Nine is always going to come after eight and before ten. Still, a good author and illustrator can make the simplest type of book fun and engaging.
Here are nine counting books that will help your little one learn to count, but won’t leave you yawning. Win-win, I’d say.
Count Your Chickens
Go to the county fair with a group of chickens! Unlike other counting books, this story has several seek-and-find and counting challenges for children to complete. Young readers will love going back through the pages and counting the chickens after reading.
Counting with Barefoot Critters
Counting books don’t get any cuter than this one. The story starts with one little forest animal reading quietly, and each page adds another animal and a new adventure. With its gentle rhyme and adorable illustrations, this picture book is a favorite of young children.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Eats Breakfast
Everyone’s favorite caterpillar is back and munching his way through breakfast. Count along as he gobbles down eggs, pancakes, and fruit — among other breakfast foods. This adorable board book from a beloved children’s book creator is the perfect addition to your collection of counting books.
Jonny Lambert's Animal 123
Filled with delightful animal surprises, this charming little lift-the-flap board book offers plenty of opportunities for discovery and discussion. The combination of counting and animals is top-notch and the illustrations are sweet and simple. Be warned — little ones will be calling on you to peruse this book with them over and over again.
The Crayons’ Book of Numbers
Learn all about numbers and counting with the rebellious crayons from the creators of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Day The Crayons Quit. In this humorous story, Duncan can’t figure out where his crayons have gone. Readers must help Duncan out by counting the missing crayons.
If you love Goodnight, Moon, you’ll want to add this adorable bedtime counting story to your bookshelf. As the characters clean up and get ready for bed, they say goodnight to their toys, hands, and dishes. This sweet counting book is the perfect way to wind down before bedtime.
From the author of the classic picture book Room on the Broom comes a gorgeously illustrated counting book about wild animals and their babies. Readers can interact with the story by lifting flaps and counting baby animals. It’s perfect for kids who love animals and math.
Counting with a Ladybug
Tiny readers will love following the ladybug across the pages of this hands-on board book. This colorful book features tactile finger trails and die-cut shapes on each page, encouraging readers to count from one little ladybug to ten noisy ducklings.
10 Little Ninjas
In this twist on the familiar rhyme, Five Little Monkeys, a group of children refuses to go to bed. At first, there are ten children, imagined as little ninjas. After one little ninja hits the hay, nine children remain — as little astronauts. Then there are eight race car drivers, seven tigers, and so on. It’s a delightful and imaginative book that features counting as its backbone.
1 Big Salad: A Delicious Counting Book
In this creative picture book, simple yet impactful line drawings seem to transform the everyday ingredients of a healthy salad into something extraordinary. As readers count from one to ten, clementines are transformed into kittens, cucumbers become crocodiles, and romaine lettuce leaves resemble dogs.
123 DreamAvailable from:
If you’re looking for a super-interactive counting book, try 123 Dream by Kim Krans. Counting from one to 20, this book combines catchy alliteration with a search-and-find element that will keep kids entertained as they turn the pages.Available from:
One Leaf, Two Leaves, Count with Me!
Flip the pages of this picture book and count the leaves on a tree as the four seasons go by. Count from one leaf to ten in the spring, take a moment to appreciate the “breezy, blue-sky” of summer, then count down from ten to one as the tree drops its leaves in the fall. Then, after a leafless winter, the leaves return with spring!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2015 and updated in 2022.