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Early Concepts

Books on counting, matching, sorting and relationships. 

► A family favorite of ours. Y = for the youngest kids

Suggest a reader for this list

1 Is One Tasha Tudor, really sweet artwork

26 Letters and 99 Cents  by Tana Hoban, nice pictures, combinations of coins add up to 99 cents. Toban's books are good for very young children.

3 Pandas Planting: Counting Down to Help the Earth by Megan Halsey

One Carton of OOPS! by Judy Bradbury

A Number of Dragons by Loreen Leedy - Ten dragons count down to one

A Shaker's Dozen Kathleen Thorne-Thomsen, Counting book up to 12, nice pics

A String of Beads by Margarette S. Reid and Ashley Wolff

Actual Size by Steve Jenkins; also Hottest, Coldest, Highest, Deepest and Biggest, Strongest, Fastest

Alfie the Alligator: A Teaching Rhyme About Comparing Numbers by Sandy Turley

Am I Big or Little? a very sweet story about a child comparing size

Animal Architects National Geographic Patterns in nature. Awesome photos for *seeing* math in nature

Animal Babies: A Counting Book (Science Emergent Readers) YY by Daniel Moreton

Animal Numbers YY Kitchen, Bert 1987 Counting & number recognition to 100

Animal Records - Amazing Book of Mammal Records (Animal Records)

Arctic Fives Arrive  Pinczes, Elinor J - Skip counting by fives

Benjamin's 365 Birthdays ►Y by Judi Barrett, days of the year

Boom Chicka Rock, by J. Archambault, same author of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Bunny Money ► Rosemary Wells, very cute, my youngest had a bit of trouble keeping count w/$15

The Button Box by Margarette S. Reid

Can You Count Ten Toes?: Count to 10 in 10 Different Languages by Denis Roche, counting in 10 languages

Charlie Needs a Cloak

Chicken Little, Count-To-Ten, Margaret Friskey

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes, there's more math in this than meets the eye.

Clocks and More Clocks Y by Pat Hutchins, for younger children, fun story about trying to synchronize clocks in a house

Contrary Mary Y Jeram, Anita 1995 Opposites, orientation, fun story

Count Your Way Through Ireland by Jim Haskins/Kathleen Benson, there is a whole series of these books covering many countries

Counting Kisses by Karen Katz

Counting on Frank ► By Rod Clement, unusual illustrations, relative sizes/amounts

Cyberchase ► PBS show, hugely popular and valuable 30 minutes - ages 4 to 10 ish? Some fun but heavy duty math!

Each Orange Had 8 Slices  Paul Giganti, Jr - Counting book with skip counting and grouping ideas

Eating Fractions (Scholastic Big Books) Bruce McMillan, nice illustrations, for younger kids

Even Steven And Odd Todd  (Hello Math Reader, Level 3) by Kathryn Cristaldi

EyeLike Numbers (Eyelike) by Play Bac Edu-Team

Far North in the Arctic: Counting Alaska's Animals by Cory Cooper Hansen

Fish Eyes: A Book You Can Count On ► Y Ehlert, Lois Counting and adding by 1, peekaboo, great artwork, for younger kids

Five Minutes' Peace - a favorite reader for the youngest in our family, parents can relate to Mrs. Large's quest for just 5 minutes of peace with three young ones in the house :o)

Five Silly Fishermen by Roberta Edwards

Fortunately, Charlip, Remy, Opposites, prediction. Fun story to readaloud

Four Stories for Four Seasons Tomie dePaola

Frederick Leo Leonni, classic picture book on seasons

Frogs Jump: A Counting Book ► Brooks, Alan / Kellogg, Steven 1996 illustrated, humorous and clever puns increase the wide of age appeal

Fun With Math with Games and Puzzles by Lakshmi Hewavisenti- I have found 2 of these, there is an entire series, Amazon has 3:   Problem Solving       Shapes and Solids       Counting

The Tale of Ginger and Pickles , Classic Tale by Beatrix Potter, ideas of credit and borrowing, running a business

Hanukkah: A Counting Book by Emily Sper

Harlequin and the Gift of Many Colours Charlip, Remy/Supree, Burton 1973 Parts to whole. Beautiful illustrations

Hello Math Readers: More or Less a Mess (Hello Math Reader - Level 2) Keenan, Sorting and categorizing, L. 2

Hooray for Me! Charlip, Remy. Relationships, nesting ideas

How High Can a Dinosaur Count?: ...and Other Math Mysteries by Valerie Fisher

How Many Can You See? (The in between books) Hannah Reidy / Emma Dodd. Introduces counting concepts as well as numbering words such as "twice," "many," and "few."

How Many Feet? How Many Tails? A Book of Math Riddles (Hello Reader! Math, Level 2) Hello Math Reader L. 2 by Marilyn Burns, math riddles and activities

How Many Hippos?: A Mix-And-Match Counting Book (Time-Life Early Learning Program Series) Horizontally split pages permit the reader to mix and match numbered objects and illustrated activities, creating stories while learning to count.

How Many Snails?: A Counting Book  Paul Giganti, Jr. - counting items by attributes, more advanced than most basic counting books

I Love Math Series, Timelife ► - There are 13 of these multi-concept books, each with themes ranging from sports and nature to space and the mall. They are out of print, but still available. See the "I Love Math" page for the list of books with brief descriptions. These may be the most read math readers in our home library over the past decade.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (If You Give... Series) ►  Numeroff, Laura Joffe/Bond, Felicia1985 Cause/effect/circular reasoning looping to beginning.  Wide appeal, look for others in this series as well

In the Small, Small Pond Y Fleming, Denise   1993Size and perspective, Caldecott Honor. In the Tall, Tall Grass is by the same author.

Inch by Inch Y Leo Lionni

It's About Time! by Dina Anastasio

Joseph Who Loved the Sabbath by Marilyn Hirsch 1986 Comparable value (in the story, all the greedy man's wealth is converted into one jewel that he then loses). Jewish culture.

Let's Count Y by Tana Hoben

Little Quack Y by Lauren Thompson, combinations of 5 (counting up and down as ducks go in water)

Math Man by Teri Daniels, grocery store math story

Math Monsters ► Y (video series, my 4 - 6 y/o girls loved these 30 minute series we check out from our library)

MathStart Readers by Stuart Murphy: Every Buddy Counts (MathStart 1), Counting, L. 1; Seaweed Soup (MathStart 1), Matching Sets, L. 1; A Pair of Socks: Matching (Mathstart: Level 1), Matching Sets, L. 1; One...Two...Three...Sassafras! (MathStart 1), Number Order, L. 1; Rabbit's Pajama Party (MathStart 1), Sequencing, L. 1; The Greatest Gymnast of All (MathStart 1), Opposites, L. 1; Just Enough Carrots (MathStart 1) Comparing quantities, L. 1; 3 Little Firefighters (MathStart 1), Sorting, L. 1; Bug Dance (MathStart 1), Directions, L. 1; Beep Beep, Vroom Vroom! (MathStart 1), Patterns / Sorting, L. 1; All MathStart readers Level. 1 are basic concepts

Mice Twice (Stories to Go!) ► Y Low, Joseph 1980 Size and perspective, a great story

Missing Math: A Number Mystery by Loreen Leedy, nice book on why we need numbers and math, we like just about everything this author produces

Moja Means One  Muriel Feelings, Caldecott Honor

More Than One Y by Miriam Schleinm - There are more ways to look at "one" than meets the eye, nice presentation of how the concept of one can vary.

Numblers Y  by Suse MacDonald - nice intro to numbers and quantities

Mother, Mother, I Feel Sick; Send for the Doctor, Quick, Quick, Quick ► by Remy Charlip, funny book, all illustrations are in shadow cutouts

Mouse By Mouse ► by Julia Noonan, enjoyed by my younger kids for years after they were beyond counting concepts

Mouse Count by Ellen Stoll Walsh, more than just a counting book, combos of 10 as the number of mice in the jar increases, the mice out of the jar decrease

Mouse Trail Y Mary Octavia Davis/Dutz 1965 Counting, following directions, oop but nice book if you can find it

Mr. Archimedes' Bath (Picture Puffin) by Allen, Pamela

Much Bigger Than Martin  by Steven Kellogg, Soft math, visual story

My Even Day about, well, an unusual day involving even numbered items / events

Nine Animals and the Well ►by Rumford, James

Number art: Thirteen 123s from around the world by Leonard Fisher - beautiful book on the history of how our number digits came to look the way they do.

Ocean Counting: Odd Numbers ► by Jerry Pallotta – lovely book

Once Upon a Dime: A Math Adventure

One Bright Penny Geraldine McCaughrean, fun story about value of work

One Fine Day, Hogrogian, Nonny 1971 Cause/effect/relationship chains 

One Green Mesquite Tree by Gisela, Jernigan. Introduces the numbers 1-20 in rhymed text and illustrations describing various plants and animals of the desert.

One Hundred Is a Family by Pat Munoz Ryan - Combinations that make 10, counting up by 10s to make 100.

One Hundred Shoes  by Charles Ghigna, easy reader

One Hungry Monster: A Counting Book in Rhyme Y O'Keefe, Susan Heyboer/Munsinger, Lynn 1989 Counting and addition

One Lighthouse, One Moon by Anita Lobel, concepts of number of days in a week, months in a year, counting progression, beautiful artwork, for younger readers

One Lonely Sea Horse Y by Joost Elffers

One Odd Day by Doris Fisher, similar to One Even Day, but of course, with odd items and events

One, Two, Skip a Few - First Number Rhymes by Roberta Arenson

Only One ► Y Harshman, Marc. Beautiful "collagraph" artwork; about sets, read in a playful mode & have child predict the set

Over in the Meadow  Y There are many versions of this, a young favorite

Ed Emberley's Picture Pie  Ed Emberley - Drawing and stencil book, designs out of common geometric shapes. There is a Picture Pie 2 as well.

Pigs from 1 to 10 ► Arthur Geisert, "I Spy" idea but with beautiful brown-tone illustrations, not as busy as I Spy

Pigs in the Corner: Fun with Math and Dance by Amy Axelrod, following directions

Pigs in the Pantry: Fun with Math and Cooking by Amy Axelrod - Cooking Measuring and following directions

Pigs Will Be Pigs: Fun with Math and Money by Amy Axelrod - Math and Money

Quilt Counting by Lesa Cline-Ransome

Rabbit and Hare Divide an Apple ; Harriet Ziefert

Red Light, Green Light  Y by Margaret Wise Brown

Round Trip by Ann Jonas, a very unusual book in perspective

Seven at One Blow: A Tale from the Brothers Grimm by Jay Williams

Seven Blind Mice Y Young, Ed 1992 Caldecott Honor Counting and perspective

Seven Diving Ducks  by Margaret Friskey

The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman

Sheep Asleep by Gloria Rothstein

Six Crows by Leo Lionni

Six-Dinner Sid ► Y Moore, Inga 1991 Counting – Sid leads six lives, fun story, visualizizing relation of 6 to 6 vs. 1 to 6.

So Big! My First Measuring Book Y Falkner, Keith - My 4 to 6 y/olds love this, built in height& length measuring device; there's a time version that is also good but not as engaging

Sold! A Mothematics Adventure (that isn't a typo) by Nathan Zimelman Calculators aren't much protection at an auction with a pesky moth.

Some Things Go Together (Harper Growing Tree) Charlotte Zolotow. Relationships and matching

Something From Nothing ► Gilman, Phoebe    1992Size & perspective, very sweet story of growing up, Jewish culture

Splash! ► by Jonas, Ann, Beautiful artwork

Spotted Yellow Frogs: Fold-out Fun with Patterns, Colors, 3-D Shapes, Animals by Matthew Van Fleet

Squarehead by Harriet Ziefert

Storytime, Mathtime Math Explorations in Children's Literature (Grades 1-3) 0866517324

Sven's Bridge Lobel, Anita1965Distance, clearance. Beautiful illustrations , younger readers

Swan Harbor: A Nature Counting Book by Laura Rankin

Tea for Ten by Lena Anderson

Ten by Vladimir Radunsky - illustrations are a bit bizarre, but it IS a book about 10

Ten Friends by Bruce Goldstone - various ways to combine numbers to amount to 10, nice book

Ten in the Bed ► by Anne Geddes – there are other versions of this rhyme/story, but we like the one by the famous baby photographer Geddes.

Ten Little Monsters Counting Box

Ten Little Mummies: An Egyptian Counting Book

Ten Little Rabbits Y Grossman, Virginia/Long, Sylvia 1991 Picture Book, Counting

Ten Monkey Jamboree by Dianne Ochiltree

Ten Sly Piranhas ► Wise, William/Chess, Victoria 1993 Subtraction. A huge favorite among my kids, fun for me to read!

That's Good, That's Bad Lexau, Joan M./Aliki   1963Opposites, prediction. Fun story to readaloud

The April Rabbits by David Cleveland. Something happens on each of the 30 days of April. Black and white illustrations.

Big Squirrel & Little Rhinocerous  Y Damjan, Mischa/de Beer, Hans 1991 Size and perspective, a favorite story for years with my younger kids

The Boy With Square Eyes ►, Snape, Juliet & Charles, 1988, Boy has “televisionitis” and sees in squares, hard to find but a fun book

The Completed Hickory Dickory Dock (Aladdin Picture Books) by Jim Aylesworth, really nice beginning book on telling time

The Emperor and the Kite  ► Jane Yolen, ordinal vocabulary and size, fable, nice story of what a little girl can do!

The Five Chinese Brothers  by Clair Huchet Bishop

The Goat in the Rug ► Blood, Charles & Link, Martin/Parker1976   Geometry, patterns. Navajo weaving story

The Iguana Brothers: A Tale of Two Lizards by Tony Johnston, Mark Teague

The King with Six Friends by Jay Williams

The Money Tree (Collections for young scholars) ► Stewart, Sarah/Small, David 1991 Concept of monetary value. Great story

The Monster Money Book Leedy, Loreen

Mystery of the Farmer's Three Fives, Y Friskey, Margaret 1963 Cute story, "few/more" combos of 5

The Numbers (Mouse Books) Y Felix, Monique 1993 Counting, number recognition

The Right Number of Elephants Y Sheppard, Jeff/Bond, Felicia 1990 Picture Book Counting

<The Seeing Stick by Remy Charlip, there is another version by Jane Yolen, "soft" math, but ideas of profiles

The Seven Chinese Brothers  Y Mahy, Margaret/Tseng, Jean & Mou-sien 1990 Cause/ effect/ relationship chains

The Shape Of Things Y by Dayle Ann Dodds, younger book on geometric shapes

The Spider Weaver: A Legend Of Kente Cloth Margaret Musgrove, geometric patterns in nature and weaving, African folk tale

The Tale of Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale by Angela Elwell Hunt

Tallest, Shortest, Longest, Greenest, Brownest Animal in the Jungle! ► Falkner, Keith

Terrible Tiger ►  Prelutsky, Jack/Lobel, ArnoldVolume, size, prediction. Wonderful rhyme

The Very Kind Rich Lady and Her One Hundred Dogs, The by Chinlun Lee – In the story the lady names (as will you) all 100 dogs, this has been a favorite here for years

The Wing on a Flea - A Book About Shapes Y Ed Emberley,  Beautiful book

The Wonderful Tree: A Story of the Seasons , beautiful book by Adelaide Holl

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, Taback, Simms1997 Volume, size, prediction, chain of relationships. Caldecott Honor, for the youngest readers. Related book that is VERY fun: I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie, by Alison Jackson

Thirteen ► by Remy Charlip. Thirteen picture stories of a magic show, a sea disaster, and other dramas develop separately but simultaneously.

Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back by Joseph Bruchac, 13 cycles of the moon represent the changing seasons and the passage of time.

The House that Jack Built (Picture Puffins) Underhill, Liz 1987 Addition/accumulation/sequence, many versions of this story available.

Tic Tac Toe: Three In A Row  Judith Bauer Stamper, Hello Math L. 1

Triangle for Adaora: An African Book of Shapes by Ifeoma Onyefulu

The Village of Round and Square Houses Y William Wegman, Young shape book but fun (guy with the dogs)

Twice Upon A Time ► by Irwin Shapiro, really nice story line, older book, twice as much is not always twice as good :o). Proportions.

Two Hundred Rabbits Lonzo Anderson

Two of Everything: A Chinese Folktale ► Ulytoy Hong, Chinese Folktale, very cute, about doubling

Two Tiny Mice Y Baker, Alan 1993 For the very young, beautiful illustrations, mice in pairs

What Comes in 2's, 3's & 4's? by Aker, Suzanne

What Shape Is It? (Looking at Nature) by Bobbie Kalman. Geometry in nature

What's a Pair? What's a Dozen? Y Stephen Swinburne, nice pictures, clean and simple

When Sheep Cannot Sleep: The Counting Book  by Satoshi Kitamura

Who Invited You? by Candace Fleming, funny counting book, Bayou / Cajun feel, illustrations almost like Pippi Longstocking

Who Is the Beast? by Keith Baker

Who Put the Pepper in the Pot? ► Cole, Joanna/Alley, R.W.  1989Measurement, great story

Who Sank the Boat?  Animals test Archimedes ideas on bouyancy, fun story

Who Took the Farmer's Hat? ► Y Nodset, Joan L./Siebel, Fritz1963Perception. Classic children's story.

Why I Will Never Ever Ever Ever Have Enough Time to Read This Book Charlip, Remy/Muth, Jon J 2000 - Perspective, time, nesting; wide age appeal

Winnie-the-Pooh's 1, 2, 3 YY Shepard, Ernest 1996 For the very young, counting

World of Wonders: A Trip Through Numbers by Eileen Doolittle, Starr Ockenga

Yellow Umbrella (New York Times Best Illustrated Books) by Jae Soo Liu, very unusual book with CD - listen to the music identifying mathematical progressions

Young Math: Number Ideas Through Pictures (Young Math Books) Odd/even, square/triangular numbers. Unusual presentation of number concepts, dated but very useful for me as a parent.

Young Math: Odds and Evens (A Young Math Book) by Thomas C. O'Brien

Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin  Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss, number vocabulary (solo, duet, trio up to octet) - Caldecott Honor

Tikki Tikki Tembo ► Mosel, Arlene/Lent, Blair 1968 - Time, comparison of size, classic tale, Reading Rainbow, yes I consider this math!