Catastrophe! / Noni the Pony Counts to a Million

These two picture books offer fun ways to introduce mathematical ideas to young children:

Catastrophe!
Anne Marie Stephens and Jenn Harney
Boyds Mills Press

This is a clever book about a crew of cats sporting either green or orange lifejackets that embark on a dinner-catching fishing trip. They begin well enough as they line up beside the lake with all their gear intact but then some of their lines become entangled and they’ve paid no regard for the colour of their jackets. ‘This is a CATastrophe!’ declares their leader, ‘We need a pattern.’ With the core pattern duly discovered the cats reorganise themselves ‘green, orange, green, orange and so on and climb aboard the canoe.
Captain Cat now calls the rowing pattern ’Row, row, meow’ to synchronise their paddle strokes but the kitties make a mistake which sends them into a spin. And so it goes on till the bait is dropped, but the fish have a trick under their fins and that leads to another CATastrophe …

Will this crew end up going hungry perhaps?

Author Anne Marie Stephens and illustrator Jenn Harney have created a simple, fun learning tale: youngsters will love to join with chanting the patterns, while also enjoying the playful scenes of the comedic crew.

Noni the Pony Counts to a Million
Alison Lester
Allen & Unwin Children’s Books

If you are looking for a number/ counting book that goes beyond ten, then join the lovable Noni for a whole day of counting fun that begins when she stops one morning beside one tree to watch her two friends Dave the dog and Coco the cat as they dance beside the sea.

From there Noni gives a ride to a trio of speckled hens, races with cows, then come encounters with some wallabies, the watching of swooping swallows (six), a game of puppy hide-and-seek (seven), followed by fluttering butterflies (eight) and nine spotty fish swimming through the reeds.
That takes us through to ten.


Unlike many counting books though, this one doesn’t stop there; rather it introduces ‘dozens’, ‘hundreds’, ‘thousands’ and finally, we see the three friends fast asleep beneath ‘millions of stars’.

Not only is this a delightful book about numbers, but with an interesting, short rhyming text well matched to Alison Lester’s playful scenes, it’s also great for beginning readers.

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