A seek-and-find picture book where you can count people sounds like an ordinary, run of the mill, story you'd expect for children.
But Everybody Counts is an absolute knock-out of a book that will captivate audiences of all ages.
This fun book teaches you to count from zero to 7.5 billion, but also to do so much more.
Within a few pages readers begin to understand this is much, much more than a counting book. Woven through the story is a multitude of characters where you can discover how their lives collide with those of others.
You'll soon discover that everyone has their own life - and their own secrets. Does Thomas's Dad have a scandalous secret? What is in the baby's pram? What will happen to the people in the elevator?
It is a deep, twisted world within the pages of the book, and older readers won't be able to resist thinking about their own connections.
The narrative builds and builds, and readers develop empathy and understanding.
On the first reading it will take a while to understand just how connected the characters are, but at the end of the book, there are a few answers that author Kristin Roskifte lets you in on. It is fascinating to turn back and see the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. Roskifte doesn't give it all away though - there is plenty more to discover yourself and this makes it impossible to put the book down after just a few readings. It begs you to pick it up time and time again, each reading focussing on a new character arc.
A spotting section also allows you to go back and have even more fun.
Roskifte's bright, bold illustrations add to the utter charm of this book. Characters are full of diversity and settings are instantly recognisable.
But it's hard to single out just the illustrations, or just the writing. The book needs to be considered as a whole.
As a package, it is an absolute stand-out.
Everybody Counts is an impressive book that provides a unique view of the multitude of connections and coincidences of life. It reminds us that we each have a unique story, and that, most importantly, everybody counts.
Reviewer: Rebekah Lyell
Quatro Group UK, RRP $27.99