Here's one more good book for the end of summer. Counting Our Way to Maine is a sweet (and at times, beautiful) counting book, illustrated in watercolor, gouache, and pastel with ink and pencil line by the author, Maggie Smith. (Not the Dame Maggie Smith. The Maggie Smith who also wrote Dear Daisy, Get Well Soon.)
A pink-cheeked family of five, plus two dogs, makes their way to a cottage near the beach, counting as they go: smokestacks, buoys, lobster pots, and boxes of blueberries...all the way up to twenty.
The greens and blues of the illustrations evoke the New England landscape, and Smith's people have an likeable, Lois Lenski-ish quality to them. Counting Our Way to Maine, a snugly, joyful celebration of family, even avoids gender stereotypes. The pie baker in the story is the dad.
For reasons known only to himself, Junior refused to have anything to do with this book until today, when we read it five times in a row. I'm sure he will ask for it again at bedtime.
Maggie Smith also illustrated Anne Rockwell's Ferryboat Ride!, which is on our list, too.
Counting Our Way to Maine, Orchard Books, 1995