Ten Little Figs
Walker Books, 2020
32pp., hbk., RRP $a24.99
Ten little figs are on my tree.
I love figs and they’re all for me
Nestled amongst the rough leaves of the sandpaper fig are ten juicy figs, each one a tempting morsel of delight for the little boy. But he is not the only one with his eye on them, and one by one, the creatures in the backyard carry them off for their own enjoyment. Soon, there is only one left and it is too high for him to reach… will he get any figs at all?
In the tradition of count-backwards stories, this is another clever rhyming tale that will help our littlest readers understand both the number system and the concept of subtraction, while they predict what might be the next creature to spoil the little boy’s anticipation. Set in a backyard garden big enough for a tree, with the shadow of the city looming nearby, the illustrations depict a scene that may not be known to every city child but nevertheless for those who do, the temptation to go outside to the fresh air and explore what is there is strong. Who knew there were so many little creatures all with their hearts set on having figs? And all there for the seeing if you just look with close eyes.
This is a charming debut for this Australian author which combines so many elements that young readers will return again and again to discover something new. Even if they don’t have the luxury of their own garden, this is one they can share and put themselves in the picture. And if they are not familiar with figs, perhaps that’s something that could go on the shopping list, a bit of research for a recipe, some cooking…and more in-context, meaningful learning accomplished!