Starting School: Preparing for Maths Class 1

Two of my favourite authors, Julia Donaldson and Nick Sharratt, combined to create a fantastic children’s book all about numbers! Once you read ” One Mole Digging a Hole” you are sure to fall in love with it!

The entire story is told in rhyme making it enjoyable and appeal to younger readers:

  • One Mole Digging a Hole
  • Two snakes with garden rakes
  • Three bears picking pears
  • Four foxes filling boxes

One Mole Digging a Hole is very cleverly written and actively engages the reader in mathematical learning and activities. Aren’t these illustrations adorable?!


  • Your child will become familiar with both the written numeral and the  number word eg. 2 and two.
  • Children are encouraged to count objects rather than just reciting numbers by rote.
  • The number of butterflies on each page corresponds to the numeral. This gives an additional opportunity to count in one-to-one correspondence.

You may well be thinking that your preschooler is great a numbers and can count to ten and beyond! There is a big difference between counting numbers by rote and having an understanding of number. Your child needs lots of hands on experience counting actual objects or pictures in order to  gain an understanding that each number refers to a set amount or group of objects. This is a prerequisite skill for addition, children must first be able to recognize and create concrete examples to represent numbers.

One to one correspondence is a term that educators refer to frequently. Put simply, one-to-one correspondence is the process of touching one object for each number that is counted aloud: 1 ( point to a butterfly), 2 (point to another butterfly)

On the following page your child can count and point to the pictures that match the text.

One Mole Digging a Hole explores the numbers 1-10. Junior Infants should work with numbers 0-5  with meaning  while Senior Infants cover the numbers 0-10.  You can see these objectives in greater detail below:

There are so many opportunities to expand and explore your child’s mathematical development with this book. Lets look that the snake illustration again.

For example:

  1. Are there more rakes or grapes in the picture above?
  2. What do we see the least of?
  3. What colour patterns are used on the snakes?
  4. Which snake has raked more ground?
  5. Which flower has the most petals and which has the least?
  6. What shapes can you see?
  7. Find the two butterflies that match.

This book is one of the most beautifully written and illustrated books that I own relating to number. I cannot wait to use it with my class next.year. I will be using a “visualizer” so that I can ask the sorts of questions listed above. It is a great oral maths activity.

I purchased my copy in The Book Centre, Waterford for a steal at 2.50Euro! I couldn’t believe my look. If you are not living in the area you could order it from Book Depository for 5.74 Euro instead of the RRP of 8.00 Euro.

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂


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