There are scores of jolly counting books to be found in any children’s bookshop, library or supermarket, but few are as attractive as this new one by leading illustrator Quentin Blake. Animals are named and numbered in both English and French and the creamy white pages allow the illustrations to live on the page. The pictures are dynamic: we have goats nibbling, dogs running, cats grooming, frogs jumping and so on. The book ends with some bigger numbers: young readers can see twenty sparrows on a branch and get a sense of what a hundred looks like on the page where bees buzz round a jam pot.
At a time when young children will be expected to learn a foreign language during the primary years this book will have a deserved place on classroom and library shelves. But many pre-schoolers will also like it. It is never too soon to learn that the same objects and concepts have different names in different languages.