3.2.1 GO! is like no other counting book for young children around just now. In this animal Olympics, we see 5 pandas practising martial arts, a fox on the tennis court with 16 spare sweatbands and 8 monkeys doing what they do best – swinging between the rings in the gymnasium. From 1 up to 20 and all the way back down again, it’s almost exhausting trying to keep up with this lively bunch!
Morgand’s silk-screen illustrations are beautiful, and there’s no denying that her squad of sporting animals ooze energy. But this is a picturebook that would perhaps sit more comfortably on a coffee table, than the shelves of an early years centre or school. Apart from being rather long (up to 10 and back may have worked better), some of the numerical concepts would operate at too high a level for young children. Two fencing zebras represent ‘11 sword thrusts’; a cheery cat gives a perfect score of 10; a tortoise putts a golf ball in the 10th hole – there is no pictorial reference to these numbers, and with nothing to count on the page, I suspect little ones may need a fair bit of explanation to ensure understanding. Even grown-ups may be left wondering why it suggests ‘3 hurdles’ when there are at least four shown in the picture.
There are so many counting books on the market that it takes something pretty special to stand out from the crowd. Although Morgand’s illustrations are bursting with colour and humour, the concepts are perhaps too abstract at times for little ones to take on board.