You Count: A Five-Senses Countdown to Calm – Champ Thornton and David Creighton-Pester

You Count: A Five-Senses Countdown to Calm by Champ Thornton, David Creighton-Pester
Also by this author: Why Do We Say Good Night?, God Made You to Be You
Published by B&H Publishing, B&H Kids on August 15, 2023
Genres: Children's, Children's Educational
Buy on Amazon

This interactive board book teaches kids and parents the 5-4-3-2-1 anxiety coping method. Toddlers and preschoolers often struggle with emotions like anxiety, fear, and sadness because they lack the maturity to address, process, and communicate their hardest feelings. But counting down and focusing on the five senses can help calm and conquer any fired-up emotions. Through lyrical rhyme and whimsical illustrations, kids can practice counting, learn the five senses, and redirect their big feelings.

Toddlers and Preschoolers follow an upset baby bear through his daily routine. He is guided by his mama to focus attention on his senses God. By observing the outer world, the baby bear learns to manage his inner world. Once calm and focused, the baby bear’s mama reminds him that God cares about what he is feeling.

You Count! reminds kids that God gave them emotions, and no matter what they feel, they always count to God!

This board book about emotional coping skills has cute illustrations and a nice message, modeling how parents can help their children process difficult feelings. In You Count, a mother bear helps her bear cub calm down through a sensory exercise where the parent and child focus on different things that they are seeing, touching, hearing, smelling, and tasting. The last pages talk about how God designed our senses and our emotions, understands us, and is always present with us. I like how this book opens with the message that a child’s feelings matter to their parent, and then ends by saying that their feelings also matter to God.

Champ Thornton’s rhyming text is reassuring and kid-friendly, and the illustrations from David Creighton-Pester are colorful, cute, and interactive, with many of the illustrations picturing things that kids can count and relate to their senses. For example, when the mother bear tells her cub to count five shapes while they’re in the kitchen, many objects in the room have prominent shapes that kids can easily identify. There is also a simple seek-and-find element, with a number hidden in the illustrations for each of the counting pages.

You Count: A Five-Senses Countdown to Calm is a great book for parents to use with young children. The board book format is durable and easy to hold, and the reassuring text and bright, colorful illustrations will appeal to kids and adults. Some books like this just feel like training tools for parents, but this is something that kids can genuinely understand and connect with at well. I would also recommend the similar book Count Yourself Calm by Eliza Huie. That one is geared towards slightly older children and has a different focus, but both books would complement each other well and are helpful tools for parents to teach children about their emotions and God’s presence.