Hungry, Hungry Monsters

Hungry, Hungry Monsters
Agnese Baruzzi
Silver Dolphin Books
Ages 3 And Up, Grades P And Up

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This tricky treat is a mathematics delight! If you have young kids who like books that are hands-on, funny, and a little bit icky, you will want to add Hungry, Hungry Monsters to your collection of counting books. 

 Hungry, Hungry Monsters is a feast for ten ravenous — and brightly colored — monsters. They eat one spider, two leaping frogs, three whales, and so on up to ten. The book or oriented vertically, which is a fun twist, and each page folds down to reveal the monsters’ meals. The simple rhyming text is fun to read aloud and gives kids the chance to guess which creatures the monster has consumed.

I love working through counting books like  Hungry, Hungry Monsters with my kids. They offer many opportunities for kids to develop their thinking skills in a playful way. Here are six quick and easy ideas for reading counting books with toddlers and preschoolers:

Count aloud:

Help children learn number words and their order.

Guess what is next:

After you read a page in a counting book, prompt the child to predict how many objects will be on the next page to help them remember the order of number words.

Look at number forms:

Young children can learn to recognize numbers over multiple exposures. 

Point as you count:

This shows kids that numbers represent real objects and helps them develop one-to-one correspondence. Children who can say the number words in order or recognize number forms won’t yet understand the relationship between objects and numbers, and they need lots of experience saying one number with one object to truly learn to count or calculate. (Other ways to teach one-to-one correspondence include setting the table — one plate for one chair — and sorting games - one object in each cup.)


Subatizing is the most important math skill you haven't heard of yet. (Unless you have of course.) To subatize is to instantly see how many without counting. We subatize when playing dice or domino games, and even very young children can see that there are two or three of an object without counting. 

Subatizing is an important numeracy skill because it helps children understand number conservation (the amount of something stays the same no matter how the objects are arranged), arithmetic, and much more.

To show your child how to subatize with a counting book, show a page or object grouping for a brief time. Ask your child how many they saw and then discuss their response. How did they know? Did they use any grouping strategies? Be sure to model your own thinking and show a lot of patience. (Chances are good that your child hasn't heard of subatizing before, either.) 

To read more about subatizing, check out this article

Put it all together:

Most counting books have a final page showing objects grouped by number. This is a really great page! You can:

  •  Ask kids which picture shows which number. (Show me which has three.)

  •  Hold up your fingers and ask kids to find the number form that matches.

  •  Use words and phrases that introduce arithmetic. (How many are there all together? If we add all the frogs and all the crickets, how many will there be?)

How do you use counting books in your house?

Looking for more fun October ideas for kids? We have plenty of titles and storytime tips in our October gallery.

Click either image to see the gallery.

Click either image to see the gallery.