Count Down to Fall

Booklist - August 2009

Preschoolers are the audience for this picture book that folds a very simple counting exercise into a celebration of autumn's falling leaves. A cheerful rhyming verse on each double-page spread tells more about the season: the trees, the colors, the shapes of the leaves, and the animals in the woods. There are also some detailed facts aimed at older readers (and adults), who could share them with younger kids. Small corner frames illustrate more seasonal concepts, showing trees’ progressions from seed to blossom to fruit. The back matter includes interactive educational questions and answers, again with material for a varied audience: some questions about matching shapes and colors are quite simple, while some are more complicated, such as those about photosynthesis. A final fun spread asks, “What good are plants?” Tiny framed pictures and captions give answers with images of maple syrup, pine and oak furniture, and information about how “Natives used the birchbark to build their canoes.” A good choice for cross-curricular use. - Hazel Rochman

School Library Journal - September 2009

Bold, full-spread illustrations with inset details feature a variety of trees and woodland animals in this informational picture book. As the facts about trees count down, the images represent the numbers 10 to 1, while corner insets show the tree, spring and fall leaves, a seed, and occasionally the flower of the specific tree pictured, such as birch, dogwood, oak, and maple. Children will be drawn to examine the expressive images of animals and find additional ones along the detailed border featuring close-ups of the tree’s bark. This attention to detail makes the book more than a simple counting or seasonal book with both the four-line stanzas and art offering simple facts: “Six linden leaves/in Valentine shapes/reflect golden sun/in autumn’s landscape.” The counting pattern gets disrupted at three, opting for numerous “three-pointed maple leaves,” and birch leaves shown falling “two by two.” A spread, “For Creative Minds,” includes quizzes and challenges readers to match facts with images, note specifics about leaf shapes, and learn about how plants support animals.–Janet S. Thompson, Chicago Public Library

Macaroni Kid - December 2011

The Summer days get a little colder..The leaves turn from green to orange and red. Fall must be on the way, and while you unpack sweaters and scarves, the animals frolic outside in the crisp autumn air beneath the wide blue sky. My 8 year old son Joshua says , "I like how the book shows different types of leaves and teaches you about them." He adds, "It is a fun book and I like how the story rhymes."  In Fran Hawk's Count Down to Fall, watch the falling leaves tumble all around. The vibrant and detailed illustrations of Sherry Neidigh make the animals and the leaves come to life! Children will love the countdown and the animals playing in the changing season of Fall.

Puget Sound Council Recommended Buy - February 2010

One of the Arbordale ebooks available in English and Spanish, the book contains a matching game at the end, teaching plant parts and leaf shapes.  This backwards counting book is written in simple rhyme describing facts about trees, seeds and leaves.  The colorful illustrations inform the text with animals in their natural settings.  Each 2 page spread contains cornerstones of the tree’s shape, green leaf, seeds, and fall color leaf.  Find the ebooks at 
- Marie-Anne Harkness  (Federal Way)

Ready Set Read Reviews - Sept 2009

Nature is beautiful no matter what the time of year, but when Fall arrives there is no mistaking it for any other season. We know the minute it begins because the tree leaves start to shift from their vivid greens to an awe inspiring array of brilliant colors. Rich reds, stunning purples, golden yellows, bright oranges, and deep browns. Each of these will eventually fall to the ground, leaving the tree sparse and bare in preparation for Winter.

It is this evolution author Fran Hawk and illustrator Sherry Neidigh have given life to in their book Count Down to Fall. Perfect to read, right now, as we embark on the close of Summer and make our way head long into the cool, brisk days of Autumn. Readers who live in areas where the seasons do complete this phenomenal change, will assuredly find themselves inspired to look at nature a whole new way after reading this fun and informative book.

Count Down to Fall is a journey through the woods, past ten different deciduous trees. Through the rhyming stanza storyline, Hawk educates her readers about the different types of trees and what their leaves look like as they release their hold on their branches and start their slow, flutter to the ground. But the learning doesn't stop there. No, like with every Arbordale release, there's more educational aspects hidden inside the fun story exterior. In addition to teaching readers about each specific tree, leaf, and fruit this book also teaches basic backwards counting from ten to one.

Remember, I said there were ten different trees featured, and the author has cleverly written her tale to show each tree losing a certain number of leaves. Starting with the first tree, the sweet gum, ten leaves falls to the ground. Next nine leaves float lazily down from the dogwood tree. I won't give any more away by continuing to list the trees, but you get the point.

Don't worry that young readers will shy away from this one because of the educational benefits. For as has been mentioned already, Arbordale's line always blends the perfect amount of fun with education. Your kids won't even realize they're learning until it's too late!

Illustrated by the ever so talented Sherry Neidigh, this book will leave you counting down the days until you can see the changes in nature for yourself first hand. Bright, bold illustrations bring home the beauty of nature in the Autumn, and show readers just exactly what each tree and leaf should like. Seriously, I simply love how Neidigh incorporated so many aspects in to each of her lovely pictorial spreads. Each picture shows what the tree looks like in Fall; a close up of the bark, leaves- both in Summer and Fall, and any fruit the tree produces (such as pinecones and nut); and it presents it in it's natural environment, complete with pictures of the animals that would be living in, on, or around it. It's a complete illustration package.

The "Creative Minds" section, found at the end of the story, is another fine example of what Arbordale brings to the table through their books. The first section gives information about each plant part (stems, seeds, roots, etc), and then has the reader match the part descriptions with a small picture of each one, as found in the story. The second section touches on the various shapes, sizes, and colors of the leaves. Again, readers are given a descriptive list of the shapes, and then are asked to match them to the pictures of leaves featured on the page. The third section talks about the importance of plants, and shows how each animal in the story relys on those plants for basic survival. Lastly, in the fourth section of the "Creative Minds" portion of the book readers are given pictures of five types of leaves in both their Fall and Summer state. They're then asked to match the leaves into pairs.

It's the best of both worlds, where in parent's are concerned. Your child reads this and enjoys a short break from the craziness of today's technology dependant world. He uses his brain as he not only processes the story and plays the games, but also as he learns something new. The best part of all, he has no idea how educational the experience actually was!

Fall is almost upon us, and with it comes the relief of cooler temperatures and the beauty of changing leaves. So, can you think of a better time than now to settle down with your child to read Arbordale's new release, Count Down to Fall by Fran Hawk? I certainly can't.

NSTA's The Early Years - Sept 22, 2009

Tree leaf shape matching, counting from 10 to 1 (you will have to invent your own page for zero), and information about plant parts and animals that eat (parts of) trees—there’s a lot of natural science in this beautifully illustrated book. On the pages for numbers 3 and 2, the counting switches from the number of leaves to the number of points on the leaves, and to the number of leaves in the group that fall together—a fun change in pattern for fours and older who are listening closely but possibly confusing for others. The Arbordale website has teaching activities to go with the book, including a list of the animals pictured in the book: bear, beaver, beetle, bird, butterfly, cat, chipmunks, deer, dog, elk, frog, grasshopper, lizard, moose, owl, possum, rabbit, raccoon, squirrel, and turtle. Perhaps the children can count how many animals they see in the illustrations as we read.

Shelf-Employed - Oct 31, 2009

There is much to like about Countdown to Fall. Ostensibly a counting book, its true value is in its leafy pages. Seasonal leaf identification is as easy as falling off a log with simple rhymes and realistic, double-spread illustrations.

Not all of the rhymes flow perfectly, but each offers a fun way to memorize each leaf type. Beech tree leaves are described "like yellow cat's eyes," and my favorite,
"Six linden leaves
in Valentine shapes
reflect golden sun
in autumn's landscape."
Linking the Linden tree's leaves to a Valentine shape is original and memorable.

The real beauty of this book, however, is in its illustrations. Four corner insets on each spread offer depictions of a leaf in spring, a leafy tree in autumn, a seed pod, and an autumn leaf. The illustrations are bordered by a lifelike depiction of the tree's bark. The featured artwork shows the tree sharing its habitat with the creatures of nature - bears, birds, bugs, and more.

For Creative Minds is an educational section that follows the story and contains simple quizzes (match the spring leaf to the autumn leaf) and questions. Click to see. This book is a teacher's dream - engaging, entertaining, and educational. (If you're a librarian, check the publisher's site for crafts to do in conjunction with each of Arbordale's titles- cool!)

Katie's Literature Lounge - Sept 23, 2009

This book teaches many concepts to children! First and foremost, it allows children the opportunity to practice "counting down" or backwards. Secondly, it teaches children about different leaves that they will see as the leaves turn colors during the fall months. The book also allows children the chance to see what leaves are used as food by some animals! A great resource for the fall months! And, the teacher activities provided... well, I just can't say enough!

Kirkus Reviews - Dec 2009

Beginning with the number ten, Hawk’s verses count down different tree leaves/seeds in all their fall glory. “Nine dogwood leaves / bright shining scarlet, / drifting down, down, down— / like the tail of a comet.” ... Neidigh’s illustrations do not disappoint. Detailed borders include close-up views of the bark of each tree while corners depict the whole tree, the leaves (both summer and fall colors) and the seeds. Woodland animals round out each spread, in which readers can count the leaves. ... Backmatter gives readers a chance to test their knowledge of plant parts, categorize leaves according to their shape, match summer and fall leaves and learn how people and animals use some of the trees featured in the text. The visual details make this a delight to the eye. (Picture book. 4-7)

Wild About Nature - Oct 3, 2009

If you are planning a leaf unit study with your class, or even if you’re just planning to take your children on a hike through the forest this fall, you’ll want a copy of this book. Count Down to Fall works its way backwards from ten, counting and identifying many different kinds of leaves. It begins:

Ten sweet gum leaves,
orange, purple, red,
look like bright colored stars
as they fall on earth’s bed.

Along the way, we see dogwoods, aspen, birch, maple, oak, chestnut, linen, pine and beech leaves. We also see a variety of wildlife frolicking amongst the leaves. This book offers beautiful rhyme and gorgeous illustrations. It serves up a For Creative Minds Section that includes facts about plant parts, tips on identifying leaves by their various shapes, an explanation about why we most definitely need plants, and a leaf matching activity.

A Frugal Friend - Sept. 4, 2009

September is a the beginning of my favorite season, fall. I'm hoping to pass this love of all things autumn to my little one. What is so interesting right now, is that everytime we go in the backyard she heads directly for the leaves on the ground (not necessarily the toys). She has a fascination with the leaves and is so disappointed when the brown ones break between her little fingers.

This has been the perfect time to introduce her to Count Down to Fall, a book geared towards 4-8 year olds, but also fun and educational for even a toddler. The 32-page book illustrates the changing leaves of fall and the animals as they are enjoying the season. The rhyming verses (oh, how we love rhyming books in our house) are fun and descriptive, giving children new vocabulary words like "prickly".

The book counts down from 10 to 1 (leaves)- perfect for any toddler or preschooler, while each page focuses on a leaf from a particular tree. You see how the leaf looks in the different seasons along with the shape of the tree. I was learning at the same time too.....sweet gum, dogwood, aspen and more. I can only imagine how much fun we'll have when my little one is old enough to go on a scavenger hunt through the neighborhood to find some of these leaves.

Educational Section: The back of the book contains a section called "For Creative Minds". Older kids will enjoy matching plant parts (think stem and seeds) to the picture, matching leaves, and learning about the importance of plants in our food chain.

Online Section: Arbordale has matching crafts/games that correspond with each book. For Count Down to Fall, you'll find Math Games with printable cards to use.
While this book is helping my little one learn the concept of counting at age 2, we'll be using this book for years to come.

A Year of Reading - August 25, 2009

This is a GORGEOUS book. You can go on a fall nature walk without leaving the comfort of your home or classroom when you read this book. It's also a counting book that counts backward from ten to one. It's a poetry book with a rhyming verse on each double page spread. It's a celebration of autumn in the woods. Most of all, it's a tree identification book. Each double page spread is framed around the edge with a different tree's bark, and in the four outer corners is the leaf in summer, the leaf in fall, the shape of the tree and either the seed or the flower of the tree. Here's an example:

Eight beech tree leaves,
like yellow cat's eyes
float gently down
through autumn skies.

Along with the trees, each picture contains animals, birds, and insects that live in the Eastern Woodlands. In the back matter of the book is more information about the trees and the ways that people and animals use them. Check out teaching activities, a book trailer, and an interview with the author.

Tif Talks Books - August 30, 2009

Another Arbordale Publishing book that does not disappoint!! To keep in line with the book itself . . .Hawk's beautiful story, Count Down to Fall, incorporates both math and science, taking advantage of it all!!!

With gorgeous illustrations, filled with vibrant fall colors, Fran Hawk counts down from ten, describing the different changes that occur with the trees, leaves, pine cones, and nuts. You and your child can learn more about how to identify the different trees by their leaves by not only the story itself, but also the fun-filled activities at the back of the book. In addition, don't forget that Arbordale also has a multitude of other resources to accompany this book on their website.

All in all, this book has excited me for the upcoming fall months and the activities with my kids that we will be doing in conjunction with it!! I've never been knowledgeable about the different types of trees and this book will allow me to learn about them alongside my children! There is no better way to discover than side-by-side with your child!

Through the Looking Glass - Sept 2009

In the fall, all kinds of wonderful things happen. The leaves on the trees change colors and drift to the ground. Nuts and seeds ripen and they too fall to the ground where animals of all kinds eat and collect them. In this beautiful picture book, readers will be reminded of the fact that our world is full of natural beauty. As they count backwards from ten to one, young readers will get acquainted with ten different kinds of trees. Readers will see what the trees look like, what shape their leaves are, and what colors those leaves turn in the fall. They will also get to meet some of the animals that live in, on, and around the trees. With stunning borders showing the bark of the trees, and richly colored double page spreads full of animals, the artwork in this book is a joy to explore. Readers will find some interesting activities “For Creative Minds” at the back of the book, which are packed with further information and mind puzzlers.

A Patchwork of Books - August 9, 2009

Count Down to Fall, written by Fran Hawk and illustrated by Sherry Neidigh, is a great introduction to all the great things about fall, from the very end of summer to the very beginning of winter. Counting backwards from ten to one, readers will get to watch and learn as animals, trees, and all of nature readies itself for the cold weather. Chipmunks are storing food, leaves and pine needles are falling, and two children are witness to it all. The rhymes are great, allowing the numbers to stand out and be learned, and the illustrations are done in the beautiful colors of fall.There are also fabulous activities included after the story is over, which will truly bring the story to a real-life perspective. Count Down to Fall is a great choice for libraries, classrooms, homeschoolers, or just as a gift!

Simply Science - August 12, 2009

Told in simple rhyme, this reminder of fall beautifully illustrates the colors and changes that take place during this brilliant season. The reader sees the variety of leaves falling from trees in autumn as they land around the flora and fauna of each area with its specific tree. The simple, backwards-from-ten countdown provides the structure of the book for showing the wide variety of trees and their changes alongside the animals. The art is lovely, with a definite child appeal, and Neidigh uses a gorgeous fall palette to show the leaves and the animals. The layout frames the art with details relating to the story and corner insets show the trees, green leaves, and an addition to the story, making it a book to pore over for the picture details.The book has activities in the back titled For Creative Minds that is a Arbordale signature. I especially liked the additional leaf information and plant details. This book provides more than a simple read and is a welcome addition to the start of the school year.

Laura Williams' Musings - August 13, 2009

My favorite season is fall.  I love the vibrant color of the changing leaves, the crisp air, apples and pumpkins.This book incorporate all those things into a  sweet counting book with raccoons, opossums, cats, squirrels, black bears, box turtles, chipmunks, owls, deer, beavers, and more woodland animals.My children love animals and this book kept them busy for a little while just looking at the pictures in it.  I caught them turning the pages back and forth to see the realistic, and beautifully illustrated photos of the animals and their natural habitats.The back of the book contains matching games, fun facts, and more.This book is a treasure for our bookshelves and book loving children.  Hope it becomes one for your family as well.

National Writing for Children Center - August 5, 2009

Colorful illustrations and descriptive rhyming verse are sure to make this Fall 2009 Arbordale title a new favorite with readers everywhere! Count Down To Fall, written by Fran Hawk and illustrated by Sherry Neidigh, is a delightful picture book that gently introduces and teaches young children how to identify ten different types of trees and their leaves. These include: sweet gum, dogwood, beech, pine, linden, chestnut, oak, maple, birch and aspen.

In addition to each full-color, two-page spread, there are also four smaller corner illustrations that give more detail about each tree, such as a closer view of the leaf, the seeds, berries, nuts or flowers, and a thumbnail of the whole tree. Very effective teaching tools! There are also many pictures of various animals frisking about during the fall or busily working to prepare for winter. So this book could even be used as a starting point to learn more about animal habitats, their natures, and how they prepare for the different seasons.

Mathematical concepts usually accompany scientific information in Arbordale books, and Count Down to Fall is no exception as readers count backwards from ten to one as they learn all kinds of interesting facts about each tree. Plus, as always, there is a ‘Creative Minds’ section in the back of the book that includes more information and activities including Plant Parts, Leaves—The Shape of It All, What Good Are Plants, and Match the Leaves. You can also find more links, activities, and quizzes for this book and other titles at You can even find out how Arbordale titles align with state standards. Options and possibilities are numerous, making these books excellent for both classroom and home use!

In a’ nutshell’, Count Down to Fall would make a great read-aloud and learning resource addition to any bookshelf! - August 19, 2009

Observing leaves doesn’t have to be an elementary or high school project as we discover in Count Down to Fall.  Author Fran Hawk combines math and science with poetic verse and in doing so she provides some tips for helping young children remember tree names.

Ten sweet gum leaves,
Orange, purple, and red,
Look like bright colored stars
As they fall on earth’s bed.

The author packs a lot into each verse and illustrator Sherry Neidigh keeps the eyes busily searching the pages while the verses are being read. What do we learn from this colorful two-page spread? The page is framed by the tree’s bark. In the four corners (of the two-page spread) we find a summer sweet gum leaf, a fall leaf, a mature seed pod and the tree’s image. While counting we find ten sweet gum leaves and the verse provides leaf descriptions. The leaves are star shaped; the colors are not just red but also orange and purple.  It also supplies the tree’s name, Sweet Gum.  While counting leaves we notice that each has lots of different shades of red, orange and purple (perhaps even a little yellow).  There are also animals in this nighttime forest setting.  The harvest moon illuminates the forest floor and we find two raccoons, a frog and a large moth.

This extremely helpful approach makes the reading fun while teaching math skills and offering early science lessons.  I love the book’s efficiency. The next page is nine dogwood leaves and again the format repeats but this time the animals are opossum and a new moth.  The clever use of the tree’s bark as part of the frame really supports the images and the content, but then that’s a primary function of tree trunk and bark.  Bark protects trees and trunks hold them upright but that’s probably reading too deeply into this early childhood book.

Still, it’s a clever use of space.  I also like reserving the four corners to depict a drawing of the flower, seed/fruit, leaf, and tree shape (wearing fall colors). Eight beech tree leaves drift around a cat – Hawks compares the leaves to the yellow of cats’ eyes. Six linden leaves reflect golden sunlight.

Every two-page spread has a tree and some charming and appropriate animals.  The pages are small treasure hunts and not only can readers count leaves but they can count all of the nuts, cones, and animals found on each.  They might ask about the holes on the linden leaves and you can compare all of the different types of “fruits” and seeds.  On the last pages they can show off their identification skills. The ground is covered with freshly fallen leaves, nuts, and seeds as well as some of the animals they’ve just met. The frame on this two-page spread shows four different barks so you might have to return to the story to review what the previous barks looked like.  With all of the playful animal distractions on each page readers probably didn’t look too closely at the bark frames. The landscape on the last page wears winter white and provides a feeling that winter has chilled the air.  Only a few animals remain visible while several are tucked away in their winter beds.

Teaching with Count Down to Fall
This is a beautiful book designed for early childhood learners, preK through kindergarten. This teaches science skills, reinforces observation, and introduces leaf properties and natural habitats. It’s a very introductory book for teaching counting skills, but the fun for young readers who know how to count will be in discovering the rest of the page content.

Sherry Neidigh’s art is beautiful. She works with watercolor, pencil, and gouache.  She claims to enjoy drawing animals and children and it shows. Her attention to detail is most impressive and this is the second book where her art has caught my attention more than the author’s story. The first was The Best Nest – the attention to detail and her obvious research create realistic settings for the stories.

This charming and obviously educational book should be shared in the classroom or at home.  It’s one that will handle multiple readings and it’s perfect for autumn activities if you live in a part of the country with lots of fall leaf color. It’s close to being perfect with the only glitch on number five. Each verse identifies the tree, except number five. 

Five prickly cases
With nuts, brown and hard,
Pull leaves along with them
As they thump in the yard.

No, it’s not a prickly ash but instead it’s a chestnut leaf. However, I’m not going to let that detract from my overall impression of this quality book.

We have Arbordale Publishing to Thank.
Four pages of “For Creative Minds” activities in the back provide educational support for the book’s content.
+ Plant Parts is an activity that encourages matching descriptions (stems, seeds, roots, chlorophyll/green leaves) to plant parts although I think they mixed the answers of 4 and 5;
+ Leaf matching to a few leaf shapes (although they confuse shapes with leaf margins – please forgive me, my degrees are in forestry and education).
+ What Good are Plants discusses some uses of plants for both animals and humans.
+ A final activity of matching leaf shape of summer leaves to fall leaves.

Online at Arbordale Publishing there is much more. The book is aligned to national standards. I’ve been conducting quite a few teacher workshops this summer and introducing teachers to a selection of books that help teach science in the early elementary grades. They overwhelming loved the online resources provided by Arbordale. Specifically, regarding this book, they particularly liked the sorting cards and the graphing activities offered online in the Teaching Activities resource. They like that this is a book to be re-read for more information but that it also fosters language and writing skills through the exploration of science and rhyming. I like the related websites that support the book’s content and I greatly appreciate knowing that Arbordale approached professionals to verify the text’s and illustration’s accuracy.

Check out the educator resources at Arbordale’s website,, and see how this can enrich your classroom or home school teaching experience. Parents and grandparents will also enjoy sharing Count Down to Fall with their favorite young readers.  This gets a 4 1/2 stars but I'm rounding up to five.

I wish to thank Arbordale Publishing for the opportunity to provide an honest review of this book. I find their products impressive and incredibly valuable resources for teachers. Who says you can’t teach science through reading—certainly not me!

Reading to Know - July 30, 2009

Just in time for the upcoming school season, they've released Count Down to Fall. This book is written in rhyme and it counts down from ten to one. The primary purpose of this book is to learn to count to ten (or backwards from ten) and to learn how to identify leaves from various trees. All of the animals that you see pictured in this book are engaging in some kind of activity around a leaf. For example we see a turtle munching on a chestnut tree leaf. Squirrels are scurring through oak leaves in search of acorns, and owls are sitting next to maple leaves. The back of the book contains two pages of information on trees, their leaves, seeds, fruits, nuts, roots, etc. There is a page which shows the differences in the shapes of leaves as well, and it also includes a matching game for children to play with the leaves. Very practical and fun - esp. if you are planning a leaf rubbing with your children!

Reader Views - August 2009

Reviewed by Cayden Aures (age 5) and Mom:
“Count Down to Fall” is a book that teaches about different kinds of leaves and presents other nature-related information while counting down from ten to one.

Cayden: “I liked seeing how the different leaves have different shapes. It was fun how they counted backwards in the book too. The drawings in the book were cool. I liked how you could see all of the hairs on the animals. The part at the end when we talked about the different plant parts was fun too.”

Parent’s comments: “Count Down to Fall” by Fran Hawk is another wonderful Arbordale educational nature book. I love how much both my son and I learn from reading these books! The “For Creative Minds” section at the end of the book and the corresponding links and teaching activities on the website make for a very well-rounded lesson on the subject at hand. The illustrations by Sherry Neidigh in “Count Down to Fall” were beautiful and very detailed and we loved the descriptive verse. I look forward to many more titles from this publisher!

Amazing Kids! eZine - September 2009

This Arbordale Publishing book, Count Down to Fall, by Fran Hawk and illustrated by Sherry Neidigh, is a wonderful book kids will love! It teaches children to count backwards by using examples of bright fall leaves drifting to the ground. On each page, there’s a new setting of nature with animals and leaves. The illustrations seem life-like and give parents lots to talk about.

The book starts out with ten sweet gum leaves in orange, purple and red, and then moves on to nine dogwood leaves, eight beech tree leaves, etc. Animals gallop from page to page and are each in a new adventure: from raccoons hunting at night to opossums hanging from branches to a kitten chasing a butterfly. Kids will absolutely adore this story! - Natalie B., Junior Assistant Editor

Feathered Quill Book Reviews - July 2009

A young girl, boy and their dog smile with delight as they sit beneath an oak tree watching the colorful leaves drift to the ground. Very soon there will be too many for them to count as during the fall season they gather in piles at the base of the trees. But there are other creatures counting down the increasingly chilly fall days as they prepare for winter. Ten, nine, eight...

“Seven pine cones,
and needles too,
pile on the ground
for squirrels to chew.”

Animals scamper around preparing for winter. There are raccoons, opossums, squirrels, a brown bear, an Eastern Box Turtle, chipmunks, a couple of spotted owls, a buck and his mate, a cottontail rabbit, a cardinal and a woodpecker. A cat is perched in the beech tree eying the whole process while even the tiniest of creatures get ready to migrate or hibernate. Many different kinds of brightly colored autumn leaves are now mixed on the ground. Can you find and name them?

This is a marvelous, whimsical and delightfully comforting book that counts down to winter in a lovely manner. I was enchanted from the first page to the last and anyone who decides to purchase this book will have the same experience. This is not a simple picture book, but one in which there are many ecological and natural lessons to be learned. In the back of the book is a lesson on plant parts, a mini quiz on leave shapes, a page on the uses of plants and leaf matching exercise. Additional educational activities relevant to this book can by found on the publisher’s website

Quill says: If you’re looking for a creative, educational counting book you can count on this one to provide a top notch experience!

The Friendly Book Nook - July 23, 2009

Oh, did this book ever cause me to miss the East coast!  We  have some leaves that turn in So. CA, but not until near Thanksgiving time, and not as many.  I rarely see squirrels and raccoons!  This book was fun!  It’s a rhyming count-down book.  The illustrations show beautiful fall-colored leaves and little animal friends.  You could use this book to teach about different types of trees and what they produce.  Accelerated Reader levels this book for third grade readers, but it would definitely interest and entertain younger, pre-school listeners/readers as well.  This book would make a great addition to any child’s library.

In the Pages - July 22, 2009

Fall is on its way and this title will be a super one for all teachers looking for a new title to add to their fall unit. Again, a counting book, but also a look at trees, wildlife, and how fall affects us all. I will be using this one in my fall story hours.

At Home Science - July 29, 2009

The book is written in short verses surrounded by a two-page spread of beautiful autumn scenes. It focuses on tree leaves, both their shapes as well as their autumn colors. This is a great early elementary book for a tree study, and, like other Arbordale books, includes activities involving tree leaves as well as plants in general.

Stories for Children Magazine - July 2009

What is your favorite time of year? For many people, and perhaps plants and animals too, it is fall. Begin with ten sweet gum leaves; go through nine dogwood leaves, eight beech leaves, seven pine cones, six linden leaves, five chestnut leaves, four oak leaves, three maple leaves; and two birch leaves; and end up with one quaking aspen leaf. Through Fran Hawk's poetic text youngsters will be introduced to the idea of counting down from ten, and from Sherry Neidigh's true-to-life illustrations they will also be able to see various kinds of trees and how to identify them by the shapes of their leaves, along with the raccoons, opossums, cats, squirrels, bears, turtles, chipmunks, owls, deer, and beavers which need the trees to live.

The "For Creative Minds" section at the back of Count Down to Fall has several activities related to plant parts, leaf shapes, and how leaves change color in the fall, as well as further information on how both animals and people depend on plants. As with other Arbordale books, there are "Related Websites," "Interactive Quizzes," and other "Teaching Activities" at their website to help parents and educators expand the learning possibilities. This is a wonderful way for students to learn about how plants and animals prepare for the approaching winter chill.

Bookviews by Alan Caruba - July 13, 2009

Count Down to Fall arrives in time to entertain and education those age 4 through 8. It explains the phenomenon we take for granted such as the changing color of the leaves and why different trees have different leaves. It illustrates, too, how various animals are affected by the change in the weather. The illustrations are superb and a great way to get younger folk interested in books. For parents who want to give their kids a head start on learning, a visit to is a good place to begin.

Giving N Sharing - September 2015

Count Down to Fall is a good opportunity for learning about nature in your neighborhood. You can see in the video above some of the beautiful 2 page spreads that show kids the fall colors of each tree and kids can actually count 3 pointed Maple leaves yellow, orange & red, 6 Linden leaves in Valentine shapes and 9 dogwood leaves bright shining scarlet. Take the time to count the leaves and pinecones with your kids, talk about what the animal in the picture is doing and then go outside and see if you can find the leaves from the book in your neighborhood and collect them. After reading the book there are 4 pages of activities for the kids in the back of the book and another 30 pages online.