Perfect Picture Book Fridays are the creation of the lovely children’s book author Susanna Leonard Hill. Check in each week on Fridays for new book reviews. Susanna also has a complete list (alphabetically and by theme) of all the book reviews. It’s a wonderful resource if you’re looking for activities for a book, or books focused on a particular theme.
This is the fourth in my series reviewing books for babies and very young children.
Author/Illustrator: Molly Bang
Publisher: Tupelo Books/Greenwillow
Year: 1983 (board book published 1996)
Genre: Board book/picture book
Themes: Bedtime; counting; father/daughter relationship
10 small toes all washed and warm.
9 soft friends in a quiet room.
Synopsis: (from Publishers Weekly) “This beguiling picture book, with a palette of eye-filling colors, appears to arise naturally from the love binding a father and his little “big” girl who turn bedtime into playtime with a rhyming game.”
What makes it great: The gentle rhyming text and depiction of an African-American father and daughter make this bedtime counting story stand out.
What readers notice: Like all great illustrators, Molly Bang has woven a ‘hidden’ story into the pictures — a missing shoe that children notice early in the book and later discover was taken by a playful kitty.
What a writer notices: The word choices and setting emphasize the quiet and calm of this story. Some of the words used:
small, warm (spread 1)
soft, quiet (spread 2)
falling snow (spread 3 – a glimpse outside gives us a heightened sense of the warmth in the room)
in spreads 4-5, the repetition of ‘s’ and ‘sh’ sounds (words like: shoes, short, straight, seashells)
sleepy eyes (spread 6)
loving kisses (spread 7)
fuzzy bear (spread 8)
When the story arrives at the last spread (“1 big girl all ready for bed”) I’m ready to climb into bed, too!
Activities/Links to Resources:
Classroom lessons focusing on Ten, Nine, Eight and other books
Math Activities related to Ten, Nine, Eight
Molly Bang’s website, including a story of how Ten, Nine, Eight grew from a story she wrote for her daughter: