Don’t turn the page yet! Let me start with the biggest number; so 7 plus 3 is 10, plus 2, plus 1 is 13, plus 4 is 17, plus 5 is……. 22. Now turn the page -Yes! I was right, 22.
This wasn’t a maths homework exercise but a bedtime story for my 5 and 7-year-old.
Regular readers will know that I am a huge Lauren Child fan. Her version of Goldilocks and the 3 Bears features in my top 5 books for the Under 5’s, my eldest daughter read and re-read the Clarice Bean series and our visit to Lauren Child’s exhibition was like a step into Wonderland.
As I was browsing books for the younger ones for Christmas, I discovered a brand new Charlie and Lola book called ‘One Thing’. With great excitement, I quickly contacted friends from the UK who were coming to visit and asked them to bring a copy. I didn’t know what it was about but as the Charlie and Lola books are amongst our favourites, I was looking forward to finding out.
As an additional surprise, a new Ruby Redfort book popped into my recommended items. It may seem a little sad, but I react in the same way to a new Lauren Child book as I would to news of a concert from my favourite artist. My eldest daughter loves Ruby Redfort and I usually pre-order them but somehow I had missed this one. Her face was a picture when she unwrapped it on Christmas day. She says this is her 2nd favourite in the series, beaten marginally by the first book. On finishing the book, she immediately wrote a letter to Lauren Child, explaining how much she enjoyed it, asking her questions and telling her about her own life. Through Lauren Child’s writing, children sense a genuine interest in what they think, feel and do which I believe, compelled my daughter to correspond.
One Thing is Lauren Child’s 5th Charlie and Lola book. Most Charlie and Lola books are adapted from the television scripts. The television series is based on Lauren Child’s characters and she collaborates closely with the script writers but there are only 5 Charlie and Lola books written by Lauren Child:-
and the new book Charlie and Lola: One Thing
We love the television series but the Charlie and Lola books from the series don’t have the same sparkle for me, so I am always brimming with excitement when a new one from Lauren Child is released.
‘One Thing’ did not disappoint my giant expectations. In usual Lauren Child fashion, ‘One Thing’ captures perfectly the workings of a young child’s mind. The story begins when ‘mum’ promises Charlie and Lola ‘one thing’ when they go shopping. The book takes you on a number journey, tapping into the minds of children like my own, who count everything and work out number problems in their head.
Lola talks about numbers and Charlie gets frustrated, adding up the time it takes Lola to get anywhere. All of the number references are displayed as sums, puzzles or hidden numbers in the illustrations. It is a wonderful introduction to maths for young children but ‘One Thing’ is more than an educational number book. The book recognises the natural way that children see numbers everywhere and is full of discoveries for an inquisitive mind.
One Thing is a delight for adults to read. I particularly identified with Lola’s constant distractions and Charlie and mum’s negotiations with her,
“What are you doing?” I say.
Lola says “I am just trying to count the dots on my dress but I am not sure what comes after twelve.”
I say “Missing going to the shops comes after twelve.”
It is a perfect example of a picture book where text and illustrations are dependent on one another, each enriching the other. I asked the girls what they liked about the book,
“I like finding all the numbers” said my 5-year-old “and I like Charlie and Lola”.
Each time we read it we find something new, from the title page with handwritten numbers,
…to discovering the number of minutes it takes Charlie to get ready hidden in the pictures,
“Oh look the toothpaste is a number 3”.
This was their favourite page.
They returned to it multiple times, trying to find the numbers hidden on the birds. We couldn’t find a number 3, perhaps you will have better luck.
Thank you Lauren Child for another book to treasure.
One Thing is available in hardback in the UK and for pre-order in the US.
Disclaimer: This is a personal recommendation. I completely, absolutely did not get paid or get free stuff for writing this post.