How Many Peas in a Pod? By Margaret Allum & Judy Watson How many jellybeans in a jar? Flip the flap! Eleven jellybeans in a jar…jiving to jazz! How Many Peas in a Pod? is a busy lift-the-flap counting book that uses absurd humour to encourage children to learn to count from 1 to 12. The book brings to life a cast of talented characters: ballet- dancing bugs, trombone-playing toucans and even poetry-writing pigs! When each flap is lifted, the original picture is transformed into a new picture that illustrates a number. The simple question-and-answer format engages young children on two levels; children are encouraged to predict the next number in the series 1 to 12, and to guess what might be underneath the flap. The illustrations are playful and imaginative—an unassuming pea pod turns into a party of peas; a humble pumpkin patch becomes a riotous scene with four pumpkins pedalling tricycles! Like the illustrations, the text is also lively. From bouncing bears in a bed to lounging lizards on a log, alliteration is used throughout the book to stimulate a love of words and language. Margaret Allum says: “The idea for How Many Peas in a Pod came from observing children’s delight at the absurd and incongruous—preschoolers have such a wonderful sense of the ridiculous! I wanted to incorporate an educational concept into a book that provokes laughter and is fun to share.” About the author Born in Perth, Margaret Allum worked in a children’s publishing house in London before moving to Sydney with her husband and young daughter. How Many Peas in a Pod? is her first book. About the illustrator Judy Watson is an illustrator, designer and researcher, who has illustrated several educational books for children. Judy lives in Melbourne with her husband and two sons. (Her second child was born at the same time as this book!) LEARNING ACTIVITIES • Before reading How Many Peas in a Pod?, look at the title and front cover. What is a pod? Predict what this book may be about. • Discuss unfamiliar words such as poetry, crooning lullabies, trombones, toucans. Write a poem, sing a lullaby, make musical instruments, and jive to jazz music. • Guess what image will be revealed when the flap is lifted. Can you guess correctly? • Discuss words that begin with the same letter. For example: cows, cornfield, counting crows. Does this happen on every page? • Create graphic number cards. On each card include the numeral and invite students to illustrate them. For example: six partying peas in a pod. • Sort the graphic number cards in ascending order. Distribute cards to students and ask them to place themselves in order. Invite them to act out what their card depicts, for example: practising ballet, bouncing up and down. • Have students count to 12. Count backwards. Count by twos. Talk about a dozen. How many is a dozen? • Explore each page and decide whether the action on each page could be true. Can pigs write poetry? Can pumpkins pedal tricycles? Can socks skip in a circle? Find the one page that is true. • Talk about lizards. Why do lizards sunbake on rocks? Place some rocks in your environment and watch the lizards come out to lounge on a sunny day.