Most children love to count and there are many counting books to choose from. 'When I dream of 123' by Oakley Graham is a little bit special though, as it combines counting all the way up to 100 with some very interesting and magical information as well as some stunning illustrations.
'When I dream of 123' is an enchanting book that would make any bedtime very special. It is a counting book that starts at number one and goes all the way to one hundred which is a bit unusual for many picture books. This also makes it an ideal book for slightly older children as well as the very young. It is also a lovely book because each number is accompanied by a gorgeous illustration and some unusual and often comical information about what is seen. It reads like a non-fiction book but all of the pieces of information are mainly imaginary.
Starting with number one, there is one polar bear and the young reader learns that:
'Polar bears are big and white and
can sometimes be a bit grumpy.
If you meet a grumpy polar bear,
build a funny snowman to cheer him up.'
The accompanying picture shows the polar bear pushing the snowman away so I'm not entirely sure that this suggestion works.
This is followed by two wizards who cannot hear very well on account of all the hair growing out of their ears; three hippos who become embarrassed if they get sunburnt; four dinosaurs who are not actually extinct but just very good at hiding, and all the way up to one hundred twinkling stars - all ready to say sleep tight and goodnight. All the ideas and the images in between are just as lovely too.
Not all numbers are covered in this book though. We go through every number from one to twenty and then the numbers increase in multiples of ten until arriving at one hundred. This is quite handy for older children who are learning to count in tens. Every picture shows the correct number of people, animals and objects and this can become a bit time consuming if your child insists on counting all of them. In fact it is pretty difficult to count the hundred stars without losing your way so it can get a little frustrating.
This book is very special in many ways. It makes an excellent counting book especially if you want your child to start thinking about higher numbers and the larger numbers will help them to count in tens. The ideas and suggestions that go with each number are very clever too and we like the way that there is a great deal of humour in many of the ideas. We discover dolphins telling jokes and brushing their teeth three times a day; mischievous flowers that like to make people sneeze; and raindrops who have to fall to the ground when a cloud gets tired. All of these, along with the many other ideas shared, are wonderful and are sure to appeal to a small child's imagination. This is a beautiful book and perfect for sharing and also a lovely book for bedtime.
This review has previously appeared under my name at www.thebookbag.co.uk