Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Everyone Counts: A Citizen’s Number Book

Everyone Counts: A Citizen’s Number Book

Elissa Grodin
Illustrator:  Victor Juhasz 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 10
Sleeping Bear Press, 2006   ISBN: 978-1585362950

Sometimes trying to understand how a country works can be a little confusing, and certainly the United States government is more than just a little complicated. For example, why are there two major political parties? What are the “branches of government,” and how do they work together? What is a constitutional amendment and why are the amendments so important?

In this very cleverly conceived picture book, these and many other questions are answered about the American government and how it works. Presented as a counting book of sorts, the author looks at twenty-two different aspects of American Government: from the American Constitution to the Supreme Court with its nine members, and from the cabinet to the rules of citizenship. For each topic, the author has created a small poem which briefly introduces the concept discussed on that page. Then the topic is explored in greater detail in a side bar of text. So, for example on the page for the number eight, we can see an illustration of eight people taking the pledge of citizenship. We can read the four line poem about these people “who arrived not long ago” and who are now becoming new citizens. In the side bar for this page the author discuses how people can become citizens in the United States and how much “America is a nation of immigrants.”

Packed with fascinating and thought provoking information, this book is a must for anyone who wants to know how the American government works. The small poems are ideally suited to younger readers, while the longer side bar sections of text are perfect for older children. The book can therefore be enjoyed on a number of levels, depending on the age of the reader. Best of all, when children read this book they will be able to see that the United States government was created with the hope that all citizens will get involved in the running of the United States.