If you're trying to instill a thankful heart in your child, Count Your Blessings by Allia Zobel-Nolan isn't a bad place to start.
This novelty book features heavier pages (it's not quite a board book; the pages are thin cardboard) with die-cut, silver foil stars on each page. The rhyming text reveals a bear's thankful prayer to God, counting up ten blessings in his young life.
"The blessings you give me are like stars in the sky
I couldn't count all of them--hard as I try.
So tonight as I stargaze, I'll list just these ten..."
The little bear tells God he's thankful for his cat, his big sister, yummy food, his grandma, his two best friends, his baby brother, fish and dolphins, his father, his home, and for keeping him safe all through the night. As you turn each page, one less star appears, allowing a nice opportunity to practice counting.
What I Like: The basic idea is good. Every child needs to learn to pray thankfully and to think about the basic things in their lives that are good. Trace Moroney's illustrations (which feature several winter scenes) are warm and appealing. And toddlers and preschoolers love the shiny stars--and the chance to show off their counting skills with them.
What I Dislike: The rhyme is sometimes awkward, and doesn't necessarily tell us why the little bear is thankful. For example, he says he's thankful for his big sister, but since many children have mixed feelings about their siblings, the book would be stronger with a few more details about why he loves her and is thankful for her. It's also odd that he thanks God for his brother, sister, and father...but leaves out his mother.
Overall Rating: Good. There is nothing exceptional about this book, but it is a decent introduction to the topic for young children.
Age Appeal: According to the publisher, 4 - 7, but I think this book is most appropriate for toddlers and preschoolers.
Publishing Info: Kregel Kidzone, 2003; ISBN: 0825455111; hard back, $12.99