The Kids Are All Right

Counting, Micro-Pets, And More!

Happy Tuesday, kidlit friends! I hope everyone is managing to stay cool during this record heat wave in the U.S. This week I review some of my favorite counting books as well as two unique new releases.

Before I get to my reviews, let me tell you about one of Book Riot’s new podcasts! What do S.A. Cosby, Khaled Hosseini, Sarah Bakewell, and Yahdon Israel have in common? They’ve been guests on Book Riot’s newest podcast, First Edition, where co-founder Jeff O’Neal explores the wide bookish world. Subscribe to hear them and stay to hear Book Riot’s editors pick the “it” book of the month.

Bookish Goods

The Food Group Earrings by SunKissedCoraBout

The Food Group Earrings by SunKissedCoraBout

If you’re a fan of Jory John’s The Food Group series, these are a must! These would be really cool to wear if you’re a teacher or children’s librarian. $8+

New Releases

Cover of Fresh Juice by Liu-Trujillo

Fresh Juice by Robert Liu-Trujillo (picture book)

Art’s father has a cold, and Art knows just what he needs — freshly made juice packed with immune-boosting ingredients! The two head to the farmer’s market, but they’re having trouble finding ginger, the most essential ingredient. People at every place they try give them a new ingredient to add to the juice until finally, they track down some ginger with a neighbor. It turns out it takes a community to make juice.

Cover of Meet My Micropets by Bloom

Meet My Micro-Pets by Molly Bloom, Marc Sanchez, & Sanden Totten, illustrated by Tiffany Everett (picture book)

Dominique has a unique presentation for her class’s show-and-tell day. She brought her micro-pets — all the fun organisms that make up her microbiome, from face mites to fungi! While the class is initially dubious about her presentation’s topic, they’re soon just as enthusiastic about their micro-pets as Dominique is. This is a fun science picture book written by the creators of Brains On!, a science podcast for kids.

In my list of new July children’s book releases for the main website, I also reviewed Abeni’s Song. For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

I get asked frequently for book recommendations to help preschoolers learn their numbers. Some advice I always give is that counting can happen anywhere — let’s count how many apples are in this bag at the grocery store. How many now that we’ve both eaten one? How many seeds? Etc. The first time my daughter counted to 100 was by counting the cupcakes in the end pages of Unicorn Day, which is not technically a counting book. She just had to know how many cupcakes were there (there are more than 100; a little help from Mama was required). Board and card games are also a great way to learn numbers — counting numbers on the dice, counting the number of spaces, etc. However, there are some really excellent counting books that tell good stories, too, that kids will love. 

Cover of 100 Mighty Dragons All Named Broccoli

100 Mighty Dragons All Named Broccoli by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Lian Cho

In this very silly picture book, 100 mighty dragons all named Broccoli have their numbers slowly reduced for a variety of reasons. Fifty are immediately blown away by an autumn wind, all the ones wearing sunglasses decide to move to France, and six move to Hollywood and become movie stars. Finally, there is only one dragon named Broccoli remaining. She enters a cave in the winter and exits in the spring, followed by 100 mighty dragons. You’ll have to read the book to find out what she names them!

Cover of Gato Guapo by Denise

Gato Guapo by Anika Aldamuy Denise, illustrated by Zara Gonzalez Hoang

This adorable picture book uses Spanish numbers. It follows Gato Guapo and his nine siblings as they walk through a city’s streets. But cats keep going missing! And with every missing cat, a piece of Gato Guapo’s suave outfit disappears as well. Will Gato Guapo find his siblings and his clothes?

Cover of 10 Cats by Gravett

10 Cats by Emily Gravett

This silly picture book is a search-and-find and a counting book. Ten mischievous cats have discovered cans of paint. Can the reader find the three striped cats? How about the six cats with yellow dots? As the book progresses, the cats get more and more colorful. If your child is more of a dog person, the companion to this book, 10 Dogs, releases in September.

Cover of Two Dogs on a Trike by Snyder

Two Dogs on a Trike: Count to Ten and Back Again by Gabi Snyder, illustrated by Robin Rosenthal

This is our most-read counting book at home and is available in both hardback and board book formats. Dogs find various modes of transportation to ride together: two dogs on a trike, three dogs on a scooter, four dogs on a bike, etc. In the background, however, a cat is following using a different mode of transport: roller skates, skateboard, race car, etc. The dogs look increasingly worried as they notice the sinister-looking cat following. The ending of this one is perfection. I also like that it counts up and down.

Produce, the kids are all right

My daughter and I harvested these zucchini and bell peppers from our patio garden this morning! I’m definitely learning a lot about patio gardening this summer. For instance, zucchini plants need much larger planters than I expected. Next year I’m going to do some things differently, but it’s so cool to be able to get fresh produce right outside our door.

If you’d like to read more of my kidlit reviews, I’m on Instagram @BabyLibrarians, Twitter @AReaderlyMom, and blog irregularly at Baby Librarians. You can also read my Book Riot posts. If you’d like to drop me a line, my email is

Until next time!

Margaret Kingsbury