This is the book I always buy for friends and family expecting a baby. All my kids love it and it’s such a lovely story to read with them.
The book introduces a number of babies born in different places who all have the same ten little fingers and ten little toes. The premise is nice, subtlety teaching acceptance of diversity. Renowned Australian author Mem Fox uses rhyme and repetition to help little ones remember the story and recite it along with you. She manages to introduce early maths with fingers and toes to count too.
While that’s all good, the reason I like this book is because my kids do. They reach out their little hands to match the hands of the babies in the book, counting the fingers on the page and then on their own hands. They can relate to it – they know the story is about a small child, just like them.
The end of the book is my favourite, with the reader introducing the last baby “a sweet little child who was mine, all mine … ” and giving that baby “three little kisses on the tip of its nose”. Seriously, who can resist a book that encourages your little one to lean in and have their nose kissed?! When I read it to my twins I just changed the word “baby” to “babies” and got two cute little noses to kiss!
Helen Oxenbury’s illustrations are lovely, featuring baby boys and girls with blonde, brown, red and black hair. Her colourful drawings show the babies are friends, playing and laughing together. My children have all found extra details in the pictures that they relate to and point out every time we read it.
Ten Little Fingers is a quick bedtime story, with a sentence to a page at most.
I’d recommend reading this book to children especially from birth to aged four or so.
Written by Men Fox and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. Published in London by Walker Books Ltd, 2008. 20pp. ISBN: 9781406320701.