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Writing a counting/math pb

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Hello BlueBoarders, :)
I have some questions about writing a counting/math pb. I've started reading counting/math pbs to see if my pb idea would fit into this format.
Is counting to 10 the most popular theme? Counting either up or down to 10 seems to be a big favorite in pbs.
Does doing simple math - adding and subtractiong fit within a pb, or would it be best to stick with counting? From what I've read, it seems that this type of pb is mostly suited for readers about 3 and under. But simple math might increase the age.
Do editors like counting books? I've heard that ABC books can be challenging, that the market is full of most ABC topics, so I'm wondering about counting books.
I welcome your thoughts.
:) Abby
#1 - June 07, 2014, 10:13 AM
Top Dog Series - Rosen Publishing, 12 x 12 in 2012, fiction & stories published Stories for Children, Under the Juniper Tree and Kids 'Magination

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Hi Abby--I've written and sold a counting book. The trick is to find a new approach, a new theme, or something that sets your book apart from all the others out there (3,000 counting books listed on Amazon).

In general, I haven't seen too many with simple addition and other similar concepts. The reason is that most picture books are geared to younger children (3 and up), and many of those children aren't doing addition yet. But, of course, there are always exceptions. Jon Scieszka's MATH CURSE, comes to mind.

If you have a unique idea--go for it.

P.S. It doesn't have to just be up to 10. There's also CURIOUS GEORGE COUNTS TO 100, for example.
#2 - June 07, 2014, 10:48 AM
« Last Edit: June 07, 2014, 10:51 AM by Betsy »

I didn't realize how saturated the market is with counters...and I've added to it with another one that counts to ten!

Still, I second Betsy's "Go for it!"  As she said, it's about the hook and you sound like you're well on your way with the idea to include some adding. The PBS show "Peg Plus Cat" has me convinced you can introduce calculating - and even more complex concepts - with little ones. It's all about the approach.

Best wishes, EspressoChick!!

 :coffee3:   :chickendance
#3 - June 07, 2014, 12:07 PM

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I was just reading a review of Brian Floca's FIVE TRUCKS picture book. This one only counts up to five and back, but School Library Journal said it was unique in that it introduced ordinal numbers (first, second, third, etc.) instead of the usual cardinals (one, two, thee). Seems like there's always a way to make a concept fresh. Good luck with your idea!
#4 - June 08, 2014, 02:49 PM
BACKHOE JOE, HarperCollins, 2014
FAMOUSLY PHOEBE, Sterling, 2017
ALL IN A DROP, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019

I just bought this one for my library: "Mice Mischief: Math Facts in Action" by Caroline Stills and Judith Rossell

Another recent favorite: "Lifetime: the Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives" by Lola M. Schaefer. Answers questions like "How many spots does the average giraffe have?" (200) or "How many flowers will a giant swallowtail butterfly visit in its lifetime?" (900) The pictures are accurately illustrated, so the butterfly page has 900 flowers on it, for example. I took this one around on my summer library program visits and shared a few facts with four-year-olds. They all loved this book so so much, and several of their teachers wrote down the title so they could check it out for themselves.

In total agreement with Betsy--something new and different is the key. The "unoriginal" counting books tend to be based around popular characters because they can get away with it--they have a built-in audience.

If I were reading reviews and selecting for my library, an original concept would be what would convince me. Like prime numbers, counting by evens or odds, counting based on an unusual topic (bilingual in something besides Spanish/English, or Australian animals, for example) or introducing less common math concepts to a younger audience (such as "That's a Possibility" by Bruce Goldstone).

All the examples I've given are technically nonfiction, not "true" picture books, just for the record. The length and format is picture book style, however.
#5 - June 08, 2014, 05:52 PM
Youth Services librarian and YA writer. Wisconsin SW (Madison area) Rep.
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I've read two addition picture book and one geometry picture book & enjoyed both with my 3 yr & 5 yr olds. I'd say go for it!  My (just turned) 5 year old does addition & subtraction worksheets in preschool and has been very interested in math for well over a year. They can count the items in the pictures to add or subtract. We're working on counting by 10's now (just for fun).

#6 - June 08, 2014, 06:13 PM
PIRATE YEAR ROUND (Acorn Press, 2019)

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Look at the educational markets. There are a few math books out there.

The simplest picture book I can think of with addition is Lois Ehlert's Fish Eyes. Love that book.

Ask at the book store and library to see what is available and go from there.
#7 - June 09, 2014, 09:12 AM
Twitter: @dvilardi1


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