by Mitsumasa Anno. (HarperCollins, 1977. ISBN 0808563432. Order Info.) Picture Book. pages. Grades 1-3.
The book is subtly colored and constructed. First we get a snowy white page with a river flowing through it. The numeral on that page says zero and many of us would quarrel that the river is there, so how can it be zero? The next page adds to the confusion as the numeral is "one" and the block at the side of the page is a single block; yet there are several figures on the page. You must study each picture to understand what Anno is doing. He is using sets and showing us the numbers, the numerals and the figures as he builds a village, shows the seasons and the months of the year and keeps track of all this wordlessly.
This is not a visually exciting book, but the concepts are strong. It's puzzle nature will intrigue some older readers, and children new to the magic of numbers will get a chance to count and count and count.
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