Author and Illustrator: Polly Alakija
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Amid the pineapple patches and mud brick houses a group of friends share the excitement of spring.
Ade’s cow has a calf, Tunde’s sheep has two lambs, Bisi’s goat has her kids, Aduke’s cat has kittens, Laolu’s dog has puppies, Dapo’s pig has piglets and by the end of the week Tobi’s prize hen has laid seven beautiful eggs!
The animals are all counted with delight. The babies grow quickly and begin to play, but Tobi’s hen just sits on those eggs. When will he be counting chickens?
The friends tease Tobi saying they will eat his eggs for breakfast, but Tobi’s patience pays off. After 21 days the eggs hatch into seven golden chicks!
A story of families, community and friendship in a traditional Nigerian village.
This counting story cleverly makes use of both the number and its use in language. “On Friday Laolu’s dog had five puppies. Tobi’s hen laid a fifth egg.”
The days of the week are also incorporated, both to learn and as a starting point to understanding the measurement of time passing as Tobi waits for the eggs to hatch. After a year the cycle is complete and Tobi now has eight hens which in turn lay a bounty of eggs.
There are so many things to explore in the rich vibrant detail of the illustrations. As we look deeper we see native birds, fruits and vegetables. Corn are strung from rafters to dry,grains are crushed by hand, a hat made from the covering of a large spiky fruit is worn by a small child playing in the sand.
Intricate basketry is woven through the pages to the final explosion of chickens, which when counted number 50!
Counting Chickens is far from just a numbers book, it is a celebration of modern African culture, a celebration of life.
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- Age Range: 3 – 6 years
- Hardcover: 32 pages
- Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
- Publication Date: February 6, 2014
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1847804373
- ISBN-13: 978-1847804372
British born Polly Alakija lived for many years in Africa. As well as writing and illustrating children’s books, she has involved herself actively in community related art projects and painting. She spent time visited schools in the UK, Nigeria and South Africa, reading with the children and sharing her experience of building picture books.