While I’ve reviewed several ABC books such as Alphasaurs and Poke-A-Dot! Dinosaurs, I have yet to do the obvious and look at counting books as well. So, at the suggestion of my own kids, I present to you today Countasaurus, an early reader book that teaches young children how to count to ten through the special features of various dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures!
Each animal shows off a number appropriately themed to them, such as the two tough wings of Pterodactylus, or the three horns that crown the head of Triceratops. My personal favorite is the fact that “Segnosaurus stand on 8 thick toes”. As a therezinosaur, Segnosaurus would indeed have possessed four weight-bearing toes on each foot, as opposed to the usual three for all other theropod dinosaurs. It’s a fun obscure fact not many may have thought to include. The illustration seems to call back to the outdated hypothesis that it waded through water in search of fish (see the final image in this LITC post), though it does not explicitly depict this.
The last two numbers end up having the least thought put into them. Readers simply count 9 Maiasaura and 10 Tyrannosaurus eggs, numbers which don’t have any particular significance to the animals in question. Off the top of my heads I can’t think of any other entries that might have matched the creativity of the other entries in the book, though I’m sure the author could have found something with a bit of searching. For example, even though the number seven doesn’t have any particular significance for Microraptor specifically, “chasing 7 darting dragonflies” at least depicts an activity the real animal likely engaged in.
Each page is illustrated with bright, childish cartoons, whose main goal is a friendly and engaging appearance, rather than true-to-life appearances. That being said, any illustration style can accommodate the proper visual appearance of any animal into its scheme. (See the ABC book Mammoth is Mopey for a book that really knocks it out of the park in this arena.) For example, as is often the case, Velociraptor‘s feathers should really form more of a wing shape on the arms. The aforementioned Segnosaurus should also probably have larger arms, which, along with its eight toes, represent the other key feature of therezinosaurs. On the flip side, Microraptor‘s feathers are decent, and the “Pterodactyl” does indeed look like a decent caricature of Pterodactylus proper, rather than some generic, mutant Pteranodon. I really like the Ichthyosaurus as well, even if the book has to pretend the tail fluke doesn’t count as a “fin” in order to state that it has “5 flippy fins”.
As best as I can tell from my searches, this seems to be the best dinosaur counting book out there right now, so if you’re looking for such a book for the little dino lovers in your life, I recommend Countasaurus. It happens to be part of a series of dinosaur themed preschool concepts, including Colorasaurus, Shapeasaurus, and Alphasaurus, though I have not personally read the others, and availability seems to be spotty on some of them. If my own children’s enjoyment of Countasaurus is any indication (my six year old practically insisted that this should be my next review), I’m sure any one of them will be a big hit with the kids!