Count on Me

In Count on Me, a young girl shows readers "there are infinite ways to see the world." Her father, her mother and her brother all have various passions (art, entomology and music, respectively). In several spreads, the curly-haired protagonist takes part in various activities: theater, dance, cooking, singing, painting, sports and music. Her true passion, however, is math. This is revealed on a double-page spread in which all of the students, except for her, have painted animals on their canvases--she, shown smiling cheekily at the teacher, has painted numeric equations and formulas.

At the playground, she sees "geometric shapes" and finds "the perfect curve" on the slide; at the lake with her family, she sees concentric circles while skipping stones; and at home, she "solve[s] difficult group problems" by dividing a family meal and flying paper airplanes with her friends. The final pages of the book are part of the protagonist's notebook (aptly titled "My Math") and explain the different types of math in the story, including fractals, basic polygons, concentric circles, curves, solid figures, trajectories and sets. All through her city, the protagonist finds joy in spotting "hidden" math and deciphering how it makes places and things beautiful and unusual.

Count on Me is a sweet, quiet story that can show children there are myriad approaches to view the wide world. Miguel Tanco's watercolor and digital illustrations use a loose black line and a subdued palette with liberal pops of red, creating dynamic illustrations with a Ludwig Bemelmans feel. The depictions of the little girl trying different activities might inspire readers to try new activities for themselves, potentially discovering passions and seeing their world in a new manner. --Clarissa Hadge, bookstore manager, Trident Booksellers & Cafe, Boston, Mass.

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