CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 22. . . . February 9, 2018
This bright, colourful, and dynamic counting book celebrates Canadian animals with Valerio’s original illustrations and unique animal choices. Canadian animal favourites, like the salmon and the owl, are beautifully illustrated alongside more unique Canadian animal choices, such as the grebe, plover, lemming, and seahorse. Sequential counting from 1-10 makes this a great concept book for younger children, especially through its use of colourful, simplified illustrations that emphasize the animals’ natural movements. Each number/animal is featured on a two page spread that includes the animal’s name, the number, the number spelled out in words, simplified actions shown in the illustrations, and an illustration of the animal’s habitat. For example, “7 Seven Plovers exploring the shore” where the seven birds are seen moving through a beach shoreline with sand and water and shells.
In addition to the great sequential counting, there is also an informational spread at the end of the book. On these pages, all the animals featured in the book are described in greater details, such as their behavior and quirky facts about the specific Canadian species. For example, “6 Six Seahorses swimming: The lined seahorse is a very slow swimmer. This fish would need about five minutes just to swim the length of a bathtub.” This feature makes this concept book interesting for older children who may already have a good grasp of numbers.
These abstract, almost origami-like illustrations are what makes this Brazilian author, who got his Masters of Arts at New York University, a true talent in the field of children’s picture books. His other English works including, Moose, Goose, Animals on the Loose: A Canadian Wildlife ABC and My Book of Birds also showcase this original talent. Valério publishes books in English, French and Brazilian Portuguese.
Jump, Leap, Count Sheep! would be a wonderful addition to any daycare or preschool library as it can be used to teach counting (1-10). With the addition of the informational spread at the end of the book, educators can go beyond simply using this as a resource to teach counting by also discussing concepts such as animal behaviours, Canadian habitats and Canadian diversity. Valério’s illustrative style, which he creates in his Toronto studio using magazines, wrapping paper, glue and scissors, also lends itself well to a number of follow up craft activities for educators and parents alike. The beautiful illustrations make this book a great addition for any family home.
Reagan Kapasi is a Youth Librarian at Toronto Public Library’s Riverdale branch in Toronto, ON. Reagan has also worked as the Director of Inventory and Outreach for The Children’s Book Bank, a children’s literacy charity that gives away free books to children and families in high needs, Toronto neighbourhoods.