7 Math Storybooks Every Child Should Read, No. 2: Quack and Count

No. 2: Quack and Count

Quack and Count Keith Baker

Quack and Count, by Keith Baker

Kids have an insatiable interest in story books and they love hearing the same stories again and again. Are you getting tired of some of the classics and looking for new additions to your child’s book list? We’re doing our summer math storybook series to suggest some books that are not only great reads but also illustrate some of the math concepts that are important for your early learners! We picked Quack and Count as the second book in our series of seven.

Read Quack and Count for fun filled math learning

Quack and Count by Keith Baker is the story of a group of seven ducks and their adventures. Full of detailed illustrations and narrated with clever rhymes, this story will keep your child’s attention. Even counting the ducks can be trickier than you expect as the ducks play hide and seek! But Baker’s book is not just about fun and games.

A great story for kindergartners and first graders, Quack and Count emphasizes certain basic mathematical principles. Baker moves the seven ducks into different groupings over each two-page spread. This use of addends emphasizes the concept that each number is more than just an amount; it is also made up of other numbers. This is a great introduction to the concepts that underlie addition.

After reading Quack and Count, try these fun math activities

Are you reading to a group? Try having the kids move around a little to keep their attention. Teach them the song Five Little Ducks Went Out to Play. Then choose six children to act out the song as the rest of the group sings the song. Another interactive activity that you can use with a group or an individual is to act the story out with little rubber ducks as you read it.

Want something more math oriented for slightly older children? Have them write out the math sentences being illustrated on each page of the book (such as 7 = 6 + 1). At the end, have the children write down their own number sentence that equals seven, possibly even using three addends. Then they can illustrate their equation with drawing of ducks or any other object that they want to use.

Have fun reading (and rereading) – you may have just found a new favorite book!

  • If you haven’t seen this one, I recommend “The Rajah’s Rice: A Mathematical Folktale from India” by David Barry (ISBN 978-0716765684).

    This is a 32-page picture book published in 1994 that tells the tale of a young girl who outsmarts a greedy raja (who has taken all the rice from the poor) when she saves his sick elephants and is granted a reward.

    She asks merely that he place a grain of rice on the first square of his chessboard and then double it for each successive square. By the time he gets partway to the 5th row of the chessboard he’s totally emptied all his storehouses. He says he can’t do it and asks her to choose a different reward. She merely asks him to let the villagers keep most of their rice in the future.

    The book ends with the raja asking how much rice it would have taken to finish the chessboard. The girl replies, “all India, knee-deep in rice”.

    Both of my kids (now 20 and 24) loved this book when it was new and they were 5 and 9 respectively. I think it’s out of print, but Amazon lists a number of copies (used and new).


    Doug Stein

  • Alyssa

    Thanks for the comment Doug! I also remember that story from when I was young, and it is definitely a classic with math, morals, culture, and fun all in one story.