Books about Early Math for Ages 3–5 and Caregivers

By Skokie Staff Youth Services

Math opportunities are everywhere, from sorting laundry to cooking to looking for patterns in nature. Early math achievement is highly predictive of later math and reading success, so check out these engaging picture books and caregiver guides that will foster the idea that math learning is for everyone and can be a fun part of kids' everyday lives.

Note: Originally developed for D69 TOPS Preschool Parent Group.

  • Chicka Chicka 1, 2, 3

    2004 by Martin, Bill

    Numbers from 1 to 100 climb to the top of an apple tree in this catchy, rhyming chant.

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  • 20 Big Trucks in the Middle of the Street

    2013 by Lee, Mark

    If you're a little boy on a bike, a broken-down ice cream truck on your street is always a welcome sight. But what if it blocks the mail truck behind it?

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  • One Minute

    2016 by Ahn, Somin

    In one minute, you can blink your eyes 20 times, hug your dog, plant seeds, say goodbye, watch the rain, or even save a life.

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  • 1 Big Salad

    2016 by Medina, Juana

    Count from 1 avocado deer to 2 radish mice all the way up to 10 clementine kitties--they all add up to one big, delicious salad!

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  • Triangle

    2017 by Barnett, Mac

    The first in a very funny trilogy about some super-sneaky shapes. Also, look for Square; and Circle.

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  • Mouse Shapes

    2007 by Walsh, Ellen Stoll

    What can you make with one oval, two circles, and eight triangles? Just ask three clever mice, who even find a funny way to trick a pouncing cat.

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  • Inch by Inch

    2010 by Lionni, Leo

    To keep from being eaten, an inchworm measures a robin's tail, a flamingo's neck, a toucan's beak, a heron's legs, and a nightingale's song. This title is also available as a downloadable video on Hoopla.

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  • Round Is a Tortilla: A Book of Shapes

    2013 by Thong, Roseanne

    Discover shapes all around you--rectangles are ice-cream carts and stone metates, while triangles are slices of watermelon and quesadillas. Also, see Round Is a Mooncake by the same author.

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  • Bees, Snails, & Peacock Tails

    2008 by Franco, Betsy

    Come explore the hidden shapes and patterns in nature. The peacock's flashy tail is a masterpiece of color and shape. A buzzing beehive is built of tiny hexagons. Even a snake's skin is patterned with diamonds.

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  • You Are (Not) Small

    2014 by Kang, Anna

    Two fuzzy creatures can't agree on who is small and who is big, until a couple of surprise guests show up, settling it once and for all! This title is also available as a downloadable video on Hoopla.

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  • A Pair of Socks

    1996 by Murphy, Stuart J.

    Does a polka-dotted sock match a striped sock? Learn about matching, an important math skill, as a lonely striped sock searches the house for its mate.

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  • So Light, So Heavy

    2018 by Strasser, Susanne

    The elephant is so heavy, and all the other animals are so light. How will the seesaw ever go up and down?

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  • Bedtime Math

    2013 by Overdeck, Laura

    More than 100 kid-friendly math problems range from jalapeños and submarines to roller coasters and flamingos, designed to make math a fun part of kids' everyday lives.

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  • Up, down, Move around--Math and Literacy

    2013 by Michals, Deborah Kayton

    Activities like the Syllable Freeze Dance and Math Orchestra help young children develop number sense, practice counting and rhyming, and learn about letter shapes and story structure.

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  • Loose Parts: Inspiring Play in Young Children

    2015 by Daly, Lisa

    Loose parts are found, bought, or upcycled natural or synthetic materials. This creative and innovative book comes with many ideas for open-ended play, as well as developing all kinds of early math skills like counting, sorting, and classifying.

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