How to Two


From the co-creator of the New York Times bestselling Ladybug Girl series comes a joyful counting book about inclusivity, play, and the thrill of making new friends--from one to ten and back again.

A quiet day at the playground turns into a boisterous park-wide adventure as one boy on the slide becomes two kids on the see-saw, then three jumping rope. Before long, ten new friends are playing like they've known one another forever.

With its deceptively simple text and a rich visual narrative, How to Two is a playful counting and reverse-counting concept book as well as an exuberant celebration of inclusive play, friendship, and community.--from the publisher

40 pages                 978-0525427841                   Ages 3-6

Keywords:   diversity, diverse books, friends, friendship, playground, getting along, counting, community, acceptance, accepting others, 3 year old, 4 year old, 5 year old, 6 year old, inclusivity, new friends, concepts, Character Building Curriculum


“Say, say, oh playmate

Come out and play with me

And bring your dollies three

Climb up my apple tree

Shout down my rain barrel

Slide down my cellar door

And we’ll be jolly friends

Forever more”

-- 100+ year old song/hand clapping game


“A playground roundabout (or merry-go-round) is a flat disk, frequently about 2 to 3 metres (6 foot 7 in to 9 foot 10 in) in diameter, with bars on it that act as both hand-holds and something to lean against while riding. The disk can be made to spin by pushing or pulling on its handles, either by running around the outside, or by pulling and re-grabbing as it spins, from a stationary stance. Often found in school playgrounds and public parks, they offer riders (typically children) a dizzying ride either when others spin the wheel, or by spinning it themselves by running around it, and then jumping on.”

--from Wikipedia, “Roundabout (play)”


For author/illustrator David Soman, it was “the little playground that was on West 77th Street in Central Park.” For me, it was the playground located behind my grandparents backyard in Garden City.


As a little kid, I spent many days on that playground. I didn’t live there, I only visited, so I didn’t know any of the children. But it didn’t matter. I’d become just one more of the many kids playing there. Joining the other children on the dizzying roundabout was one of my absolute favorites.


HOW TO TWO is a beautiful, satisfying picture book about joining in at the playground. It is organized as a counting book, but it serves equally well as a compendium of suggestions for playing together without gadgets and screens.


The story begins with one boy on a slide, who is then joined by a girl to become a pair on a see-saw. The pair then turns a jump rope for a third child, when along comes a fourth child with a ball. So the quartet play foursquare. Onward goes the activities as, one-by-one, the number of children playing together grows to ten. There’s sand play, duck-duck-goose, puddle splashing, hide-and-seeking, and tag-your-it. The simple text counts up: “How to one.” “How to two,” etc. The growing cast of children is multiracial and of varying sizes.


After reaching “How to ten,” dusk arrives. Along come parents, and the numbers then count back down in a circle as the children scatter, homeward bound, to the edges of a two-page spread. Finally, we see the original boy at home, where he selects a book, looks at it (“How to one.”) and brings it to Mom for a lap-sit read-aloud (“How to two.”)


HOW TO TWO will be valuable in promoting inclusiveness and cooperative play, and is a great reminder of how much fun there is to be had by playing outside with a bunch of friendly kids.


Recommended by:  Richie Partington, MLIS, California USA

See more of Richie's Picks

User reviews

Have you read this book? We'd love to hear what you think. Click the button below to write your own review!
Already have an account? or Create an account