The Best Preschool Counting Books for Numbers Loving Toddlers

Share this Post

If you’ve got a particularly curious toddler in your house, chances are you’ve found yourself surfing around the Internet looking for the best preschool counting books (and perhaps that’s how you found this post).

Best Choice

Best overall

The Best on a Budget

Five Little Ducks

Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

I’ve been there, and I’ve got your back.

Our daughter taught herself the alphabet and to count to 10 before she was 18 months, leaving us scrambling for different ways to encourage her Einstein like curiosity and the learning she kept indicating she was ready for.

Now that she’s 22 months, I’ve spent a lot of time searching for a number book for preschoolers that goes up to 100, as well as those that cover different strategies, such as skip counting and grouping.

Because my kiddo is pretty “numbers curious” we’ve used a lot of these books ourselves, and are still using them. Some of the others are on my wish list and based on the extensive research I did looking for solutions for my own family.

Hopefully our favorite counting books become yours too, and this list helps you encourage and engage your little one!

Children’s Counting Books from One to Five

Two of my favorite counting books for preschoolers are classics I remember from my own childhood in the 80s: Five Little Ducks and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. All three of these numbers books are so fun, your little one won’t even realize they’re laying the foundation for counting to five.

Five Little Ducks

This adorable twelve-page book features tabs for easy page-turning for tiny fingers. It takes your toddler on a sweet journey of counting one through five on fingers and toes. The bright and colorful illustrations are eye-catching, and the sing-song rhymes will hold your little one’s attention for fun learning. My toddler loves this song!

Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons

Pete the Cat is a well-known favorite for his rockin’ stories that are both funky and fun. He will teach your little one to count to four by not crying when he loses a button. Full of familiar illustrations and a fun, repetitive song, be ready to read this one on repeat.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

This is the single most popular book among an entire brilliant collection of Eric Carle literature and illustrations. The pictures are unique and eye-catching, and your toddler will love watching the caterpillar munch his way through one, two, three, and more yummy snacks while simultaneously learning the days of the week and food names. No wonder it’s one of our picks for the best baby books for the first year!

Books About Numbers from One to Ten

Once your toddler or preschooler is ready to start counting, there’s a huge selection of counting books for preschoolers to choose from – especially 1 to 10 counting books.

1, 2, 3 with the 10 Little Rubber Ducks

This is an absolute favorite in our house. Our daughter received it as a gift at 18 months, and now at 22 months she still pulls it off her bookshelf a few times per week. It’s the perfect size for little hands, and adorably shaped as a duck, which most little kids love. Your preschooler will be able to count their way through springtime with bunnies, flowers and hatching ducklings. The recognizable Eric Carle illustrations are intriguing and make counting from one to ten easy and entertaining.

Bear and Hare Where’s Bear?

Your little one will have fun helping Hare count from one to ten and backwards with bright and colorful number illustrations. Then help him find Bear, who is particularly bad at hiding. But all of a sudden, he’s gone! Solve the adorable mystery together while learning to count to ten with this cute counting book.

Flip, Flop, Find! Counting 1 2 3

This book is perfect for young, curious minds. It encourages your little one to guess who will hatch from each egg with a clue. Then lift the flap and see if they guessed correctly. Count from one to ten with both the number illustrations and the number words.

Fish Eyes: A Book You Can Count On

This sweet book is full of super-bright fish that will catch your child’s attention. It is written in a memorable rhyme for easy reading and will prompt your child to count from one to ten by counting friendly fish. The fisheye is cut out for interactive fun, and the book is easy to hold with easy-to-turn pages. One of the best number books for preschool, and beloved by many preschool teachers, too.

Stack the Cats

Full of silly and quirky cats in all shapes and colors, this book not only teaches kids basic counting but also teaches them other simple mathematical ideas, making it more of a complete preschool math book. Apparently, there’s more than one way to stack a cat, and these kitties will figure out the best way. If you’re in search of math books for preschoolers that go beyond simply counting, this is a great choice.

My Very First Book of Numbers

Kids will love to learn their numbers by counting different yummy fruits in this book full of familiar illustrations by beloved author and illustrator, Eric Carle. It features both the numbers themselves and numbers in word form for number recognition and reading comprehension. Match the pictures of fruits with their corresponding numbers for an exciting challenge that encourages your little one to think about the meaning behind each number. With his bright and engaging illustrations, Eric Carle has created several number books for preschoolers you’ll want to check out.

How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten?

This cute preschool number book is a classic for children who are just beginning to learn to count. The numbers are spelled out as words for help with reading comprehension, and it also cleverly includes learning opportunities for colors, letters and even different species of giant, friendly dinosaurs.

Daddy Hugs

Specially designed to give daddies another excuse to cuddle their babies, this sweet book is easy for little hands to hold and counts out all the different ways to give hugs. The numbers are both illustrated and spelled out for various levels of learning comprehension. An adorable way to include teaching counting for children into your daily routine.

1 Hunter

Full of eye-catching and creative jungle scenes, this book takes your little one along on a not-so-successful hunt. One hunter doesn’t see the two elephants or three giraffes, along with various other fun wild animals. Each number is illustrated in bright colors so that they pop for easy comprehension. This is one of the classic numbers books for toddlers!

One Spotted Giraffe

Your kiddos will love the bright and colorful animals they see as they count their way to ten. Giraffes, lemurs and crocodiles are waiting to be counted, and each has a corresponding flap with a numeral on the front. Lift the flap, and the same numeral will pop up in the shape of that animal, making this a great book for reinforcing number recognition.

Anno’s Counting Book

Beautiful watercolor illustrations take your little one through days and seasons. The landscape steadily changes as they count people, trees, houses and more. This numbers book for toddlers will encourage your little one to find math in every-day natural settings. And it not only teaches counting but also grouping and symmetry among other things, making it a favorite among toddler math books.


Count through all the adorable and silly doggies with your little one. Each one has a unique look and a very special bark for lots of noisy fun. The numbers are both illustrated and written out for multiple levels of learning, and the silly expressions on the dogs’ faces will keep everyone entertained. This was our daughter’s first counting book – and it still a source of fun almost 2 years later!

On the Launch Pad

Nurture your child’s love of outer space and math while you count down to blast-off together. The vivid illustrations cleverly hide the numbers, turning learning into a fun game of backward-counting hide-and-seek. Great for teaching numbers 1-10 in a bit of a different way.

Ten Little Ladybugs

Go on a precarious adventure with ten ladybugs. The raised plastic ladybugs peek through the holes in the board pages, and every time you turn the page, one more ladybug disappears. Don’t worry, the ending is uplifting with a happy reunion, and your kiddo will learn to count backward from ten to one, making it a great counting book for preschoolers who have already mastered counting forward.

One Duck Stuck

This sweet duck is calling for help over and over again, and many groups of willing animals, from one to ten, attempt to get it unstuck. Each page has a well-written rhyme, and the happy ending involves a lot of teamwork, making this a good book for preschool aged kids on many levels.

Mouse Count

Follow these mice on their adventure with a very hungry snake and let your little one learn to count from one to ten both forwards and backward. The illustrations are simple and beautiful, and the sing-song rhymes keep readers captivated.

Ten Little Caterpillars

Help your child learn ordinal numbers like second, third and fourth while they follow each caterpillar on their own little journeys. For a bonus, they can become a caterpillar expert with the glossary that provides facts about each caterpillar type in the story. If you’re looking for books about numbers for preschoolers that offer a bit of a twist (ordinals!), add this one to your bookshelf.

One Gorilla: A Counting Book

The stars of this primate-counting story are the brilliant and vivid illustrations. Anthony Browne seems to bring each species to life with their realistic faces and expressions. The numbers are illustrated for easy number recognition while your little one counts the beautiful primates on each page. This is a lovely number book for toddlers who also love animals.

How Many Bugs in a Box?

Kids are intrigued by bugs, and this book uses their curiosity to spark learning. Each page has a box of different bugs. They get to open the box, count the bugs and see what they do when you move the flaps.

Books About Counting for Preschoolers: One to Twenty

Once my daughter had mastered one to 10, I quickly set out to find some number books for toddlers that go up to 20. I actually found it a lot harder to find stories about numbers up to 20, as there’s much less selection. However, there are a few lovely options out there.

Twenty Big Trucks in the Middle of the Street

With most kids going through a “truck phase” at some point, this book is the perfect combination of truck enthusiasm and math. It (combined with Curious George Counts to 100 – see below) is the current counting book of choice in our house, as my daughter is in the middle of a very long and deep truck phase. In this book, preschoolers can count a wide variety of trucks, from ice cream trucks to excavators, all the way up to twenty. It includes rhyming and written numerals for easy comprehension. My favorite number book for preschool aged truck enthusiasts.

1 2 3 Dream

This dreamy story is full of beautiful pen and ink drawings washed in bright watercolors to draw in the attention of your kiddo. Each page has a large, easy-to-read numeral with an accompanying page containing an equal number of plants or animals.

Teeth Tails and Tentacles

This interesting story takes a unique angle on counting. The vivid and lively illustrations engage the reader and provoke questions like, “How many tentacles does an octopus have?” instead of simply counting the animals. It really encourages curiosity, which I think is the mark of a great book!

1 to 20, Animals Aplenty

With brilliantly detailed illustrations of a plethora of animals, your little one will have fun counting how many of each animal. The large numerals are easy to read and accompanied by a simple rhyme on each page for effortless comprehension.

Counting to 100 Books for Toddlers

For some toddlers, counting to 20 won’t be enough, and their natural curiosity will draw them further along in their numbers journey, all the way up to 100. This is where we are in our number learning journey – counting to 20 is still fun, but our daughter is also really curious about what’s next. These are the counting books for preschool I am currently using to count to 100, as well as some on my wish list.

Curious George Learns to Count From 1 to 100

Curious George is always a good little monkey, and this time he’s chosen his town’s 100th anniversary to see if he can count to 100. Follow him along as he counts an array of different toys and items. The numerals are clear and highlighted for an easy connection between number recognition and items.

This book is long – probably too long to read from cover to cover for most toddlers. However, my daughter regularly pulls it out and opens a random page to look at “George” and “pictures” and we count the objects together. I expect this one will be fun for years to come.

Chicka Chicka 1 2 3

We love the original Chicka Cicka Boom Boom for ABC learning, so of course bought in whole heartedly to the numbers version! The catchy rhyme, cut-paper art and adventurous plot of this story will make it one that your little one will ask for repeatedly. They will learn to count both forwards and backward and recognize numbers in this exciting tale where zero is the hero.


A perfect book for gradual stages, it starts out counting from one to 20. After that, it moves on to count by tens all the way to 100. The last step is skipping from 100 to 1000 in reference to the raindrops. This is a great book for understanding both simple counting and place value.

1 2 3 Peas

Follow the adorable mathematical peas as they carry out every-day activities in increasing numbers. The numerals are large and colorful and accompanied by their number in written form, and the fun and catchy rhyme will keep kids of all ages engaged until the very end when they reach 100. This one is currently sitting on my wish list and I really can’t wait to test drive it in person.

100 Bugs!: A Counting Book

Full of beautiful and life-like bug illustrations, two adventurous kids explore the bug life outside by counting all the different kinds they find. This book not only encourages counting but also includes simple addition up to ten on each page.

One Hundred Hungry Ants

This clever story about an army of famished ants on their way to a picnic cleverly depicts various mathematical functions like counting, grouping and even division. To make the trip quicker, they break their single-file line into double, then into four lines and more for an easy visual of the concepts – in my mind, this makes it one of the best preschool math books for number curious littles.

Big Book of Counting to 100

Going far beyond simple counting, this book starts with fun illustrations of different animals and items with their corresponding numerals for number recognition. It then throws in engaging questions to build your child’s counting skills and overall awareness.

Preschool Books About Counting and Other Mathematical Concepts

If your little one wants to dig into counting strategies and other mathematical concepts, these books are up to the task.

How Many Snails?: A Counting Book

This book not only encourages basic counting skills but also prompts your kiddos to find the differences between similar objects and focus on colors and details by asking intriguing questions. The illustrations are simple and bright, and the entire book has an interactive quality.

Ocean Counting: Odd Numbers

Odd numbers are the stars of this cute book full of quirky and interesting ocean creatures. It will take your little one all the way to 50 and encourage counting by twos in a more unconventional and challenging way.

Underwater Counting: Even Numbers

Engaging and full of fun information, this book takes your kiddos on a journey under the sea to count sea creatures by twos. The numbers are both illustrated and written out, and each page includes interesting facts about all the different marine animals.

One is a Snail, Ten is a Crab

This delightfully silly book cleverly uses different beach-dwellers and their various numbers of feet to both count and convey simple mathematical concepts that will later be used in more advanced functions like multiplication.

Final Thoughts

If your toddler is numbers curious and you’re anything like me, you want to do everything you can to encourage them to explore their natural curiosity.

Adding a few high quality numbers and counting books to your at-home library is a great way to do just that!

I hope some of my family’s favorite books soon become your family favorites too. And if you know any parents or grandparents who would benefit from this article, please share!

Share this Post

About The Author

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Don’t miss our regular updates, new content, and free offers!

Scroll to Top
Skip to content