Mona Voelkel

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#PPBF: Counting to Bananas: A Mostly Rhyming Fruit Book



Words by Carrie Tillotson

Pictures by Estrela Lourenco


Book Title: Counting to Bananas: A Mostly Rhyming Fruit Book

Author: Carrie Tillotson

Illustrations: Estrela Lourenco

Publisher & Year: Flamingo Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, 2022

Intended Age: 4-8 

Topic/Themes: Humor, Counting, 

Opening Lines: “Me, the star of a book? YES!”

Synopsis: Counting to Bananas is a humorous picture book narrated by an engaging banana who is not-so-patiently waiting for his turn in the spotlight. The words and colorful pictures of fruit and animals come together so beautifully to make this an especially inviting read aloud.

What I like about this book: Reading this book made me smile! I also was uplifted by the bright colors in the sweetly detailed illustrations. This as a book children will want to hear again and again.


Writing: Use this book as a mentor text to create your own counting book and/or to write books with surprise endings. Readers might also enjoy writing about the further adventures of the banana. Where does he go when the story ends? 

Reading: Before reading, have students look at the title and cover illustration and predict what the story will be about. Discuss what it means to be the “star of a book.” 

After reading, discuss what happened at the end. Were you surprised? Why or why not? Have students create a mood board (see below) to convey the mood and central ideas.

Book Celebration: Invite families to listen to a Reader’s Theater presentation of the book and student-created narratives. Provide a variety of fruits listed in the book for snacks and hang student-created artwork and mood boards inspired by the book as decorations.

Art: Using the illustrations as a mentor text, have students illustrate their own counting book. Create digital or collage mood boards.

Author Website:

Illustrator Website:

I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a humorous counting book! You will go bananas for COUNTING TO BANANAS!

*I was provided with a pre-publication copy of this book but have since pre-ordered my own copy.

This review is part of PPBF (Perfect Picture Book Friday) where bloggers share great picture books. Organized and curated by author Susanna Leonard Hill, she keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. #PPBF

Reflections on this Book:

Reading COUNTING TO BANANAS brought me so much joy! You know what else brings me joy? MOOD BOARDS!!!

Yesterday. I participated in MoodPitch! Writers create mood boards to pitch their work to prospective agents. Here’s one I created for my THE MAN BEHIND THE COUNTER picture book:


Fun, right? Mood boards also foster critical thinking! Here’s how your students can create mood boards to convey the central ideas of a text they are writing or reading!


  1. Read and think about a story or nonfiction text.
  2. Find or create images that convey some of the following:
  • mood
  • central ideas
  • characters
  • setting
  • problem/resolution
  • theme

    3. Assemble your mood board by gluing your images on construction paper or creating a digital mood board. (I used Canva). Think about colors and fonts that convey the desired mood and tone.

Thanks for reading this review! Thanks to Carrie Tillotson and Estrela Lorenco for their wonderful book! Thank you to Kathleen Foxx, Jaimie Hunter, and Lula Lockwood for creating #MoodPitch and to agent Dawn Dowdle of Blue Ridge Literary Agency for liking my mood board!

What is bringing you joy this week? Let me know in the comments!


6 Responses

  1. Truly a fantastic post. I will definitely check out the book! Hearing that I’m going to be a Gigi two more times this week is bringing me joy! Best wishes Mona in 2022.

  2. oh! This looks like such fun! and your activities are great for counting along. I’d never thought about a mood board before. Thanks for all the ideas.

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