Customer Reviews: Ten, Nine, Eight
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It's sort of a "Goodnight Moon" tale, but interesting. The book combines your average counting book (or, in this case, counting backwards book) with a bedtime sleepy story. Utilizing bright colors, interesting characters, and an eye for textures, author/illustrator Molly Bang has created a sweet simple story that does not annoy or condescend to the reader.
An African-American girl and her father count down to bedtime. There are ten toes on her feet. Nine fuzzy friends (including a clever and playful kitty). Eight windowpanes displaying the snow outside. It goes on. Each view of the bedroom is a comforting one. The observant reader might wonder why there are only seven shoes straightened under the crib, only to find that when we observe the five buttons on the girl's gown, the cat is proceeding to happily gnaw on the missing shoe. The delicate interactions between the girl and her father are undoubtedly the most tender parts of the story. Oftentimes we switch in the story from viewing things from the child's point of view (like her toes or her seashell mobile) to looking at the girl as she perches in her father's lap. After some goodnight kisses and a big hug to her furry bear pet, it's off to bed for the sweet sleepy little one. There is nothing in this book that will necessarily grab you by the guts and make you want to give this story to every man, woman, and child you know. It's just a delicately woven lullaby that expresses almost wordlessly the affection that exists between a father and his daughter. From the opening shot of the girl running to be in her dad's outstretched arms, to the final tucking in at the end of the night, the book touches a chord in the reader. It is sweet without overpowering you with its saccharine nature. Adorable without going overboard. It is a beautifully balanced work of picture book art.
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on October 4, 1999
My two year old daughter loves this book. It is a sweet book counting down to a little girls bedtime. The book goes through the little girls nighttime bedtime ritual, much like our daughters own bedtime countdown. At the end my daughter will always say "Night night!". I also like the presence of the little girls father in the book. You don't always see this in kids books.
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This book is on my entering-kindergartner's Summer Reading List and I can certainly understand its inclusion: good art and good story.

The drawings of father and child are just so sweet and endearing. My children can not get enough of it. Every night they want to put their little toes over the ones that are 'washed and warm' in the book. We count our window panes, and give kisses on 'cheeks and nose' too.

An excellent bedtime book. It is also the only book out of the 30 or so that we have read thus far, that made me say: darn I wish that I had run across this book alot earlier.

Definitely worth adding to the home library.
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on October 26, 2004
This counting book uses tempera paints to create a warm inviting feeling as we watch a loving father put his daughter to bed. The book counts backwards in an almost hypnotic way sending the child to dreamland on a cold snowy night. The pride and love this father feels are beautifully shown in the illustrations. One almost feels as if they are intruding in on a magical bedtime ritual.

The illustrations are realistic in style showing detail in every picture. The colors are warm and dark to help the setting with a night time feel. Bang uses many patterns, as in the floral wallpaper and the rocky chair, but the pictures are not to busy or cluttered. If the illustrations are watched closely an underlying story of the cat can be seen as well. The reader might wonder where the missing shoe might have gone from under the bed on the number seven page. It is found on page five as the cat plays with it beside the rocking chair. It seems as if the cat is woken from its nap at the beginning of the story and has a little playtime before it retires to some other corner to continue with its sleep.

As a counting book Ten, Nine, Eight reinforces counting backwards. It can be a little confusing on the number nine page however. When counting the "friends" there is a horn that stands out but if the reader looks closely there is a small mouse on the dolls lap so there are actually ten objects in the picture. This could bewilder a small child trying to learn to count for themselves. Over all this is a wonderful book that would be a loving addition to any library to be shared with that special little sleepy child.
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on June 12, 2001
I like reading this book. I like saying "Ten Nine Eight by Molly Bang" as we start. What a name the author has, and what a talent for making a simple book so engaging! The illustrations are comforting, with a continuity from page to page that is a nice touch. Also, since the father and daughter are African-American, this book brings a welcome diversity to the home library.
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on March 15, 2015
At one year, baby already has four bins of books. This is one of her favorites. Simple, colorful illustrations. She loves the baby girls/daddy interactions. She loves the cat and the stuffed animals that appear in many of the illustrations ... points to the animals and has us name them. She also points to the big, bold numbers on each page spread (10, 9, 8 ...) and has us say the number out loud.
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on December 17, 1999
Like all of Bang's work, this book is beautiful. The simple countdown to bedtime is made lively by the comforting illustrations of toys and other objects in the nursery; this cosiness is heightened even more by the snow outside the window. The ending is genuinely sweet. A winner.
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on February 12, 2016
I got this for my husband as a small "push present" at the birth of our daughter. I wanted a cute daddy-daughter book for them to read. This isn't really emotional or even particularly father/daughter-themed. It fell flat and is just not what I was hoping for.
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Not quite a board book, but smaller than most picture books, "Ten, Nine, Eight" fills a nice gap in the middle. Molly Bang's exquisite colors illustrate this counting (from 10-to-1) book that culminates with the protagonist fast asleep.

The context is as warm and familiar as the counted objects: A little girl (it's difficult to tell how old she is, sometimes her face looks a liitle more mature than at other time) climbs up onto her daddy's lap. The dad is obviously smitten with his daughter, but in an unforced manner that seems to come from deep inside. The gentle pictures of their affectionate interactions provide the countable objects. These include 10 toes, 7 shoes (later we see the cat with the missing one), six "pale" seashells (each with its own shape), four "sleepy eyes which open and close," two "strong arms around a fuzzy bear's head (actually, you can see three arms, but you can always exclaim, "you're right, there are three arms!)," and "one big girl all ready for bed."

Ms. Bang's varied palette uses both bold primary colors and some more "sophisticated" hues not always found in a book for crawlers and toddlers. Overall, the tone is pleasant and warm, and the rhymes unforced and natural.
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A child's counting book for pre-schoolers of a child going to bed. It was a 1984 Caldecott Honor book (i.e., runner-up to the Medal winner) for best illustrations in a children's book.
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