10 Trim-the-Tree’ers: A Holiday Counting Book,
by Janet Schulman, illustrated by Linda Davick
(2010, Random House)
At first glance just a simple holiday counting book, this book actually has multiple layers that will keep preschoolers and kindergarteners busy, busy, busy!
Ten neighbor children arrive at their apartment building dragging a huge evergreen tree through the snow. They then begin to decorate the lobby and the counting begins! Starting with one (after the initial statement that there are “10 little neighbors”), a new decoration corresponding to the number (1 gold star, 3 little angels, etc.) is added to the tree or surrounding lobby by one of the children. The children hang around after putting up their decorations, helping each other and playing around in the cozy lobby. The tree and the lobby begin to fill up with children and decorations (mostly typical Christmas items except for the menorah for 9 candles), and when the last item arrives–10 pretty presents–you can see Santa disappearing into the elevator before the children bundle up and head outside to sing carols for “their pets and everyone.” A summary page with each of the items for counting is on the last page of the book.
While many children will be content with just counting the decorations as they are added (barring the one rogue snowman that shows up two pages before it’s mentioned–maybe he’ll be removed in future printings!), there are, as I said, several layers to this book’s illustrations that can keep the most detail-oriented child checking more than twice! First, each child is wearing some sort of costume or accessory that matches him or her to the decoration he or she brings. Then a new stocking shows up hanging on the mantel that somehow matches each child, and a new brightly colored envelope pokes out of a slot in the mailboxes on one side of the lobby with each new child. There are a cat and/or mouse that shows up in each illustration, and you can both watch the children interacting with each other (whether snuggling up to read a book or tossing snowballs at one another) and the people and vehicles passing outside the glass front doors as well. I did not notice many of these things the first time that I read through this book, but GirlChild and I searched them all out once I realized what was happening! This book is smaller than typical picture books (although it isn’t a board book), so it is the perfect size for little hands. A fun, involving, fluffy read for your little counter!