The Hueys in None the Number
hbk., 32pp., RRP $A24.99
How do you explain the concept of none, nothing, zero? That something that isn’t even there is something? This is one of the most difficult mathematical concepts for very young children to understand, given that they are still very much in the concrete stage of development, yet given its importance in maths it is one of the most critical. And in this charming counting book Oliver Jeffers manages it perfectly.
Using his quirky characters The Hueys, he builds up the idea by adding one to none to get a blue telephone and then two beds until the big day building up to a crescendo of items that are suddenly taken away leaving …none. Jeffers doesn’t confine himself to the usual objects found in counting books – each collection is a story in itself like the seven oranges being balanced on things. Why would you try to balance an orange on something? Or the teddy-shaped parcel that becomes everything from a tennis racquet to a train set. And the nine seagulls that steal Frank’s chips just invite the young listeners to share their own stories.
Oliver Jeffers has a knack and a reputation for making the ordinary extraordinary and this third adventure of these lovable characters is no exception.