Debby Anderson's Kindness Counts does a nice job of combining secular learning with biblical principles.
In this colorful picture book, Anderson offers up her usual fun, kid-friendly style, while encouraging math skills. Each section of the book is based on Bible verses and shows children of many ethnic backgrounds in everyday circumstances, using math in everyday ways.
For example, we read that "sometimes kindness is hard work. We are cleaning our bedrooms and sorting everything into buckets." The accompanying illustration shows a boy putting his toys away, while a sidebar asks "Which bucket has the most things? Which bucket has the least? Which buckets have the same?" The next page shows a little girl, also putting away toys. The text asks, "How can I help to sort my sister's teddy bear collection? I can sort them by size. Which one is the biggest? The smallest? Which are the same size?"
We also learn things like: kindness means "giving and sharing," while a boy and girl sort coins and do math with them (How many pennies make $1? What's the difference between a penny and a dime?); kindness to animals is important, too (How many legs does a dog have? How many ears does a rabbit have?); sometimes we don't feel like being kind, but God will help us to do it anyway (3 boys + 2 girls = 5); God pours kindness out on us (Count the raindrops!); kindness means doing thoughtful things for others (How many boards will you need to build a shelf for Mom?); God uses math, too! According to the Bible, he "measures the oceans with His hands," "weighs the mountains and islands," "counts big thinks like clouds and trees," counts "little things, like our tears and the hairs on our heads..." (How many shells are on the beach?); and much more. The author even gives a one-page synopsis of the Shepherd and the one lost sheep.
What I Like: I love books that combine general learning (like math) and biblical principles. This book does it beautifully. Anderson's writing is clear and perfect for young children, and her illustrations are bright and inviting.
What I Dislike: Nothing.
Overall Rating: Excellent.
Age Appeal: According to the publisher, 4 to 8, but my 2 year old likes it, too.
Publishing Info: Crossway, 2007; ISBN: 1581348614; hard back, $9.99.
Special Info: Check out our other reviews for books by Debby Anderson.