How Many? A Different Kind of Counting Book

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Book Information

Reader Personality Type
Charlesbridge September 2019
Mathematics Curriculum

How Many? is not like other counting books.

In How Many?, there are multiple things to count on each page. Students might count one pair of shoes, or two shoes, or four corners of a shoebox. They might discuss whether two shoes have two shoelaces, or four. They might notice surprising patterns and relationships, and they will want to talk about them.

In this accompanying Teacher's Guide, Christopher Danielson explores what deep mathematical ideas will bubble up in a How Many? conversation, such as counting, number language, units, grouping, partitioning, place value, and vocabulary.

Throughout, he shares stories and excerpts from real classrooms where he facilitated How Many? discussions. Danielson helps teachers anticipate what students might notice and gives practical suggestions for facilitating rich conversations with students.

Danielson's interest in students' ideas is infectious, and readers will soon find themselves seeking out opportunities to ask young mathematicians, "How Many?"---from the publisher

36 pages                                        978-1625311825                                   Ages 3-6

Keywords:  counting, quantity, patterns, math, science, 3 year old, 4 year old, 5 year old, 6 year old, 7 year old, Mathematics Curriculum

Also in this series:  Which One Doesn't Belong: A Shapes Book


“One is the loneliest number”

-- Harry Nilsson (1968)

“This is a book about numbers and counting, but it’s different from other counting books.

This book doesn’t tell you what to count.

It doesn’t start with small numbers and end with big ones.

Instead you decide what to count on each page. You have many choices.”

Here are a few of my favorite old counting books:

TEN BLACK DOTS by Donald Crews (1968)


ONE WHITE CROCODILE SMILE by Richard Hefter (1974)

26 LETTERS AND 99 CENTS by Tana Hoban (1987)

EACH ORANGE HAD 8 SLICES by Paul Giganti Jr. and Donald Crews (1992)

COUNT THE MONKEYS by Mac Barnett and Kevin Cornell (2013)

Once 3- or 4- or 5-year-olds have developed one-to-one correspondence and can count to 30 or 40, they tend to quickly outgrow simple counting books. When it comes to slightly older readers, if a counting book is to retain its luster through repeated readings, it must draw in readers either through a good “hook,” or by engaging them in more sophisticated skills.

HOW MANY? A DIFFERENT KIND OF COUNTING BOOK takes the latter road. The author prompts young readers to consider different possibilities for counting the objects in the photographs. On one page they might choose to count the number of shoeboxes or the number of shoes or the number of holes that the shoelaces go through or the number of visible stitches or the number of tiny holes inside the shoes.

When they reach a photo of guacamole ingredients, they might choose to count the number of avocado halves or the number of full avocados that produced all those halves. They might count the number of different ingredients or the number of each ingredient. (Granted, it’s not possible to count the individual leaves in the pile of chopped cilantro, but one can focus on avocados, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, and limes.)

I really like the vivid quality of the photos and the book’s potential to get kids considering all the possible things that one might try to count.. I’d count on younger elementary students being engaged by this out-of-the-ordinary counting book.

Recommended by: Richie Partington, MLIS, California USA

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