STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books

123 Little Donkey – a maths book for the very youngest


123littledonkey123 Little Donkey by Rindert Kromhout, illustrated by Annemarie van Haeringen, translated by Bill Nagelkerke is the loveliest counting book I’ve come across in a long time.

It takes a concept that can be rather well worn and uninspiring and not only encourages genuine engagement with the illustrations, through choosing slightly unusual objects to count, but creates a heartwarming, reassuring and funny story to lead readers and listeners through their numbers. Whilst this a delight for young learners, it’s also refreshing and humerous for the adults sharing this book with the children in their lives.

Little Donkey’s determination to snaffle some of the goodies his mother has brought back from her shopping trip provides the starting point for this numerical story; “1 shopping bag” is rummaged through by “2 nosy friends” who find “3 bags of treats”. Mama puts the treats up high out of reach, but Donkey and his friend are not to be put off their plan to secure some sweets. Precarious balancing results in an mishap inducing “9 fat tears” and “10 soft kisses” from the forgiving Mama.

Delight, drama, a soupçon of naughtiness, reassuring parental love AND the opportunity to practice your numbers are all bundled up in this charming book from an author and illustrator who have won many awards in their native Netherlands and deserve to be much better known around the world.

Gecko Press USA (Lerner, dist.), $14.95 (20p) ISBN 978-1-877579-34-9
Also available in the UK, distributed by Bounce, and in New Zealand, where Gecko Press are based.

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3 thoughts on “123 Little Donkey – a maths book for the very youngest

  1. Hello Zoe,

    Books that can manage to entertain adults and at the same time engage very young children are good to find.

    This morning I have reviewed a book for older children, Stronger Than Steel: Spider Silk DNA and the Quest for Better Bulletproof Vests, Sutures, and Parachute Rope by Bridget Heos and illustrated by Andy Comins (part of the Scientists in the Field series) at

  2. Over at Archimedes Notebook we’re still digging into pies… er, Pi. Celebrate Pi at

  3. I love a good counting book that can be read over and over again. At NC Teacher Stuff, I am featuring a new Rachel Carson biography: