Book offers countless opportunities to count

Counting is one of the first concepts children learn, and there are many books available to help them along in their efforts. In this picture book, kids are given lots of opportunity to count - not only animals, but also snowflakes, creeping inchworms, floating feathers, and blades of grass. Demi's Count the Animals 1.2.3. by Demi (Grosset & Dunlop, $9.95, ages 3-6) is a menagerie of animals and numbers. From one to 20, the animals parade across brightly-colored double pages. Their coats are decorated with floral patterns, tapestries, or covered with compositions of smaller animals.

The introductory and closing pages are covered with animals in circles, in pairs, and in bunches. Even the zebra on the cover is striped with miniature zebras, inviting a child to find all 100 of them.

Demi has included a rhyming text and counting instructions to give the beginning reader more of a challenge.

One sophisticated touch, which ought to appeal to teachers, is the international flavor Demi achieves through the texture of her designs and selection of animals.

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