Perfect Picture Book Friday – Ten, Nine, Eight

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.

Title: Ten, Nine, Eight

Author/Illustrator: Molly Bang

Publisher: Tupelo Books/Greenwillow

Year: 1983  (board book published 1996)

Genre: Board book/picture book

Ages: Infant-5

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:

19 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday – Ten, Nine, Eight

  1. Patricia Tilton says:

    Carrie such a heatwarming choice for young children. I love your sharing the words choices on the page spreads. Such a beautiful book — and counting backwards may have a calming effect on the child and help induce sleep. I like quiet books. The illustrations look fun! Nice activities.

  2. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    This book sounds just delicious for bedtime! I love all those quiet words. And I really love books that have another story going on in the illustrations – it is such fun for kids to have lots to look at while listening! Thanks for sharing, Carrie! 🙂

  3. danacarey1 says:

    Great review, Carrie. Once again you point out a good book but also present it in such a way as to help us as writers and illustrators. I have the Molly Bang book, “When Sophie Gets Angry– Really, Really Angry” and I’m going to read it again with a fresh look informed by your review.

  4. The Picture Book Review says:

    This is one of our favorites. We’ve been reading this one off and on for about a year and a half. It’s one of those amazing books that just doesn’t get old no matter how many times we’ve read it. This is a great review and I’m so glad you’ve written about it.

  5. Penny Klostermann says:

    I love the language! Thanks for giving us a good glimpse. I added this to my list. I keep a board on Pinterest of Books I Want To Read. It is full and overloaded. I will have books to read for all of 2013!!! Not really, but I do have a long list!

      • Penny Klostermann says:

        It’s working for me. I take my smart phone to the library & can look up the books there. If I’m really organized, I’ll search before I leave the house & have a list of the books the library has. Then if I like them, I reponbthrm to another board…I just started boards for letters of the alphabet and sime units. I know teachers would find that handy. I will experiment & see how it goes. I’ve been keeping a Books I Want To Read for a long time & I pin as I read the reviews from PPBF. I’m Penny Klostermann on Pinterest.

  6. Beth Stilborn says:

    From your review, I can tell that there are many things to love about this book — it’s about a father and daughter, they’re African-American, the counting goes backwards (love that, for some reason!), and it sounds like the perfect unwinding at the end of the day book. Thank you so much for this one!

  7. Shalon Wehmeyer says:

    my husband required Employee Warning Notice several days ago and saw an online service with an online forms database . If people are requiring Employee Warning Notice as well , here’s

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