A Numbers of Numbers

By Allan Sanders

A Number of Numbers is the second book I’ve worked on with Amanda Wood and Mike Jolley. 

Previously we worked together on The Alphabets of Alphabets – a collection of 26 illustrated alphabets which featured an alphabet of Birds, an alphabet of Creepy Crawlies, alphabets of Dinosaurs, Inventions, the Museum, People, Vehicles, the Zoo and so on.

For our follow up book we wanted to look at the world of numbers, encouraging our readers to practice their counting skills and have a bit of search and find fun along the way. 

We thought it was important to link our cover visually with the Alphabet of Alphabets. As we’d played with a large letter A on Alphabet it made sense to do something similar again.  I drew a cool space rocket shaped like the number 1 in a scene filled with space related things to spot.  I like that our cover is an extra search and find puzzle – It’s good to give parents something to do in the shop whilst they are waiting in the queue!

As we had covered a range of different themes in our Alphabet book we knew we wanted to be similarly varied when tackling the world of numbers.  We did a bit of brain storming to see if any numbers lent themselves naturally to specific themes. If there wasn’t an obvious theme we chose a subject that would be fun to play with.  So I got to draw a page full of dogs, a bustling city scene , a snowy mountain side, a farm full of animals, a crowded funfair, a giant robot, and a building site filled with industrious workers.

Number ONE is our introduction. I drew an eccentric gentleman riding a unicycle (ONE wheel!) – he introduces us to the idea of counting.  Spotting one thing is probably too easy so we asked the reader to spot ten things that appear only once. 

For number TWO we thought of Noah’s Ark and all the animals going in ‘2 by 2’. I drew a busy ark with 20 pairs of animals to match up.  We tried to make each search and find task a little bit different throughout the book. 

On number THREE we have lots of nursery rhyme and fairy tale characters. I noticed they often hang out in 3’s so we have 3 blind mice, the 3 bears, 3 billy-goats gruff and the 3 little pigs all featuring amongst a host of other threes.

On FOUR it seemed that 4 seasons would be a fitting subject so we split the page up into Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.   Each season has it’s own search and find task.

As we all learn to count on our fingers it made sense for us to focus on the hand for number FIVE.  To make things a little more challenging I drew a nice knitted glove with things to spot on it.

With SIX we had free reign to pick a subject. I’m interested in history and I thought it would be good fun to draw a large castle with lots of medieval people going about their daily business. On this page the task is to find six lots of six different things – 6 canon balls, 6 brave knights, 6 treasure chests, 6 flags, 6 shields and 6 golden keys.  

Throughout the book there is a lots to search and find!

On number EIGHT we thought an Octopus could be the centre piece for an underwater scene. We’re not easy task masters of course – counting and finding just 8 things would be too easy for our readers so we set them a real challenge : finding 8 lots of 8 different things. Thats 64 underwater things in total.

We took a break for a picnic on number TEN and asked the reader to find 1 jelly, 2 pies, 3 Jars of jam, 4 ice creams, 5 cookies, 6 apples, 7 sandwiches, 8 cups of coffee, 9 glasses of juice and 10 cup cakes!  That’s 55 different things to count and spot before you even think about having a leisurely punt along the river. 

Number THIRTEEN is unlucky for some. Luckily for me I l got to draw a haunted house and lots of scary characters.  We’re asking the reader to find 13 bats in our haunted house scene and also count up 13 other creepy things. Frightening!

The most challenging picture to draw was probably the Orchestra for number TWENTY.  The task we set the reader is to find 1 triangle, 2 pianos, 3 tubas, 4 xylophones, 5 harps…all the way up to 19 maracas and 20 choir singers.  If you add up all the things we’re asking you to find in this picture it comes to a total of 210 things to search and find!  

I haven’t added up a grand total for EVERYTHING we’re asking the reader to count in a Number of Numbers but I hope they have fun along the way.  I think a Number of Numbers will definitely keep them busy for a while.


Search and Find Number of Numbers is by AJWood and Mike Jolley. Illustrated by Allan Sanders

Published by Wide Eyed Editions  9781786035363

Any views and opinions expressed may not truly reflect those of the FCBG.

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