Math Books for Young Children

These are a few of my favorite math books! I have linked them to the Maine Early Development and Learning Standards. I created this annotated bibliography as part of a math assignment for my college course.

Campbell, S. C., & Campbell, R. P. (2014). Mysterious patterns: Finding fractals in nature. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press, an imprint of Highlights.

 Mysterious Patterns

MELDS Geometry

Mysterious Patterns is a book which focuses on the patterns found in nature, fractal patterns. Examples of fractal patterns include broccoli, trees, and even lightening.

Though toddlers and younger preschoolers will enjoy flipping the pages of this book, it is written for older preschoolers and school aged children. By modifying the text, I am able to engage all the children in my program.

With the older preschool children, who have a solid concept of basic shapes and their attributes, I utilize this book to further their understanding of shapes. The moment I said the word “fractal” each child’s ears perked up. They knew this word, lyrics from Frozen’s Let it Go. This prior knowledge helped to connect what a fractal is. After reading we went outside to find fractals in nature.


Dean, J., & Litwin, E. (2016). Pete the cat and his four groovy buttons. Louisville, KY: American Printing House for the Blind.

Pete the Cat

MELDS Counting and Cardinality Cluster & Operations and Algebraic Thinking

Pete the Cat is a counting backwards book, starting from 4 and ending with 0. As Pete rides his skate board his shirt buttons keep popping off one at a time.

I use this book in conjunction with a Pete the Cat game I created, where the children roll the dice and “pop” off the number of buttons they rolled.

This book is different than other backwards counting books. Dean and Litwin specifically put the numerical math equation (ex. 4-1=3) after the question was asked, “How many buttons are left?”

I first learned about Pete the Cat at a national family childcare conference back in 2012. I haven’t met a child yet who doesn’t like Pete the Cat!


Falwell, C. (2008). Turtle splash!: Countdown at the pond. New York: Greenwillow Books.

Turtle Splash

MELDS Counting and Cardinality Cluster & Operations and Algebraic Thinking

Turtle Splash is written and illustrated by a Maine author. The story simply counts down from 10 to 1 as each turtle goes into the pond through rhyming text.

This book is similar to a pond the children in my program are familiar with. We visit this pond a few times a year as a group. I always bring this book with us to read. We compare the number of turtles in the book to the number of turtles at our pond.

I use this book to practice rote counting backwards and numeral recognition. With older children I work on algebraic thinking, “There were 8 turtles on the log and 1 went in the water how many are left on the log?” “What if two had gone in the water?”


London, J. (2010). Froggy Gets Dressed. Paw Prints.

Froggy Gets Dressed

MELDS Geometry & Measurement and Data

Froggy Gets Dressed depicts a young frog who wants to play outside, but he keeps forgetting to put on different articles of his winter clothing. By the end of the book he figures out the correct order to put his clothes on it, but alas, he is too tired now to play outside.

I use this book to teach sequencing skills, especially as we head into the winter season. This book is filled with prepositional words. As the children dress themselves I am sure to model the same language they heard in this book.


Mazzola, F. (2000). Counting is for the birds. New York: Scholastic.

Counting is for the birds

MELDS Counting and Cardinality Cluster

This is a counting book which increases from 0 to 20 as more birds fly to the feeder. The family cat is close by on each page trying to catch a meal. Before the cat can capture on his feast, a pesky squirrel interferes.

This book is wonderful because all the birds depicted are ones possible to see ay my childcare. Many have been spotted in the outdoor classroom.

I use this book to teach cardinal counting by both 1’s and 2’s. On each page two bird are added, which makes it a great way to have children practice counting by twos. I also use this book to practice numeral recognition.

I pair this book with our bird sensory bin. I include bird manipulatives and a bird house within a bucket of bird seed. I also make sure to include the cat!


Shannon, D. (2011). Duck on a bike. Auckland, N.Z.: Scholastics.

Duck on a Bike

MELDS Mathematical Practices & Geometry

Duck on a Bike is a story about a duck who decided he wants to try riding a bike. He rides his bike in a variety of ways around the animals of the farm. He rides, slow, fast, toward, and past. All the other animals thought duck was silly, but after they saw empty bikes they changed their mind. All the animals ride bikes around the farm.

In the warmer months we often have bike parade days. Each child brings their bike from home. We bring this book out every bike parade day! Riding bikes not only promotes prepositional language, but also works on balancing skills.

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