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1 Big Salad: A Delicious Counting Book by Juana Medina. Viking, 2016

A playful concept book imagines salad ingredients as animals as it counts from one to ten: one avocado deer, two radish mice, three pepper monkeys, four carrot horses, etc. Medina uses photographs of actual vegetables set against a stark white background, and then adds black ink lines to embellish each vegetable in order to bring out the animal—nose, ears, and feet added to the radish mice, for example. All the animals mixed together add up to one big delicious salad, shown in a photograph of the salad in a big wooden bowl with two inked hands and arms holding it up. Even those who can already count to ten will enjoy seeing the vegetables transformed into appealing animals. (Ages 2–5)  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Try these early literacy activities with children:

  • Read: “Winter Adventure” in Goodnight Songs
  • Talk: About trying new foods. Try some of the foods in the book that are new to you.
  • Sing:  “Apples and Bananas” by Rafi. Look for other versions of the song online or at the library.
  • Write: Trace numbers with your fingers. Count with your fingers. Or, write a grocery list together
  • Play: Provide kids with printed out pictures or magazine pictures. Have kids add their own drawing to make an animal. Or, make faces with cut up pieces of fruit – blueberry eyes, orange slice mouth.
  • Math or Science: Make the salad and salad dressing in the book or make a recipe of your own. Talk about measurements. How much of each ingredient do you use for the recipe?

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