Cover of Count Me a Rhyme by Jane Yolen and Jason Stemple

Count Me a Rhyme

This book was meant to be a companion to our successful COLOR ME A RHYME, but I consciously decided to make the poems simpler and to concentrate on rhyming poems since counting books are for the quite young. Along the way, Jason found some wonderful shots for the early numbers but had to work extra hard on the larger numbers. Halfway through the book, Jason and his wife had twins, which made things even harder for a while for him to get out shooting. But once the girls (Amelia and Caroline) were sleeping through the night, he was back to trading off with his wife for shooting time.

Some photographs really do “fool the eye” in a special way. Number one looks like a solo elk and I wrote the poem that way, the elk looking very pleased with himself. But as Jason explained to me afterwards, he was really only a few yards from his harem. And right after the picture was snapped, he hauled himself to his feet to defend his females from a male who was coming down off the mountain.

See what Jason has to say about this book.


  • Chosen for the 2007 Texas 2 x 2 Reading List that encourages volunteer reading.

What reviewers have said:

  • “A beautiful, readable companion to Color Me a Rhyme. Each of Yolen’s poems mirrors the subject in tone, rhythm, word choice, or shape. For example, the ceaseless motion of spiders is described as “Six spiders throwing/Out a glistening strand;/Six spiders going/Hand over hand over hand over hand,/Hand over hand over hand over hand.” The simplicity of swallows on a line is captured in a haiku, “Nine little swallows,/Like notes on a music staff,/Wait to sing their songs.” Throughout, the poet’s wry observations surprise and entertain. Stemple’s vibrant, full-color photographs give readers much to study and absorb about each animal: mist, silver web strands, the points on an elk’s antlers, a mullet’s eyes and mouth, a snail clinging to a slender blade of grass. The well-composed images provide a perfect complement to each poem. Roman numerals and words related to the featured number are included in the page design. A joyful collection of unusual animals, appealing poems, and excellent photographs.”—School Library Journal
  • “Count Me A Rhyme pairs gorgeous photos by Jason Stemple with Yolen’s unique counting book…A gorgeous, unique collaboration results in eye-catching displays of animals in multiples, accompanying swinging rhymes which reinforce learning.”—Midwest Book Review / Children’s Bookwatch
  • “The breathtaking photographs depict nature’s creatures from one to ten. Yolen’s poetry imagines the animals voices and perspectives: ‘One/Single/Solo/Me/The only One/That I can/See’ begins “One Lone Elk. A quintet of geese ‘paddle puddle perfect’…A beautiful tour of the natural world.”—PW
  • “Mother-and-son team Yolen and Stemple follow up Color Me a Rhyme (2000) with this engaging counting book. Throughout, Yolen’s verse is matched with Stemple’s full-color photographs of animals. The pairings are organic: In ‘Eight Bighorn Sheep,’ two, skinny vertical lines of text, side-by-side, mimic Stemple`s image of sheep ascending a rocky cliff. ‘Nine Swallows: A Haiku’ is illustrated by nine little birds on a telephone line against a solid blue sky…the final poem, ‘Many,’ pays homage to the infinite wonder of numbers and nature….Readers will enjoy counting the creatures that appear on each spread. Many, no doubt, will memorize the enchanting verse.”—Kirkus
  • “This handsome number-themed book of poetry and photography looks to nature for inspiration. Stemple’s color photos of animals in the wild represent the numbers from 1 to 10 and the concept “many.” Each photo fills a wide, double-page spread, forming the backdrop as well as the inspiration for the poems, which are succinct, sometimes witty, and well suited to reading aloud. Words and symbols and numerals related to the number enrich each spread…. Some of the photographs are notable for their clarity, others for their subtlety, but all represent their subjects with sensitivity and finesse. A worthy companion to Color Me a Rhyme.”—Booklist
  • “Jane Yolen and her son, Jason Stemple have teamed up to create a winning, unique counting book of poetry. In addition to the poems, Yolen has included Arabic numerals and Roman numerals, as well as other vocabulary such as “sole” and “solitary” for the number one, for example. The animal photography is superb. A visual and verbal delight! Don’t miss this one.”—Education Oasis
  • “The beautiful poems and gorgeous photographs of “Count Me a Rhyme” capture animals in their natural habitat and brings the amazing beauty of wildlife to young readers. In this follow-up to “Color Me a Rhyme” the delightful poems tell the stories of animals from one through ten and all the way to many as they spend their days. The full-color photos offer the reader a glimpse into nature. Counting has never been more fun!”—Kids Bookshelf
  • “Yolen has written a number of crisp poems to accompany Stemple’s fine photography. On each double-page spread, children will find a number of creatures (from one to 10), which they will surely want to count. And after thinking carefully about the number before them, they’ve got a poem to enjoy, such as “Three Mullets are We” or “Four Slow Snails.” —Seattle Times