A One Year Old and One Lonely Fish

Welcome to the 1st Math Book Magic Monday! Each Monday I will post an entry about a magical math book.

Since 7/10/2017 is the first day of a week full of palindrome dates (see sidebar for more on this), this week’s post is inspired by my little palindrome-aged child. My son Landon turned 1 year old last month.IMG_4255.JPG

I know, 1 may not be exciting to some in palindrome number land, but it was exciting for our family. A few weeks before Landon’s birthday, I checked out a bunch of library books with the number one in the title.  Below is the low down on a magical math book starring one lonely fish.

The Book

One Lonely Fish was created by Alan Mansfield (concept and design) and Thomas Flintham (illustrator). It was published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books in 2017 (originally published in Great Britain in 2016 by Templar). It’s a larger-sized board book measuring  9 1/8 inches by 11 1/2 inches.  Oneloney

The book begins with one, little lonely fish. A second fish arrives, but he comes with his mouth open wide to eat the little, oblivious lonely fish. The pattern continues until one gigantic fish gobbles the sequence of nine smaller fish.  The story ends how it began with one lonely fish.

The Math

One Lonely Fish is a counting book from 1 to 10. This book is great for children developing one–to-one correspondence as each page offers a new opportunity to count. Below is the page for eight. You can see the uniquely shaped page design in the photo.

IMG_4467This book reinforces the connection between counting and cardinality. Cardinality is a measure for the number of objects in a set. For example, on the page for 8 fish, 8 follows 7 in the counting sequence and 8 stands for a set of eight fish.

The Magic

The day I brought One Lonely fish home from the library (along with a 10 or so other math books with One in the title) my two older children (ages 7 and 4) searched through the piles of math books. They both grabbed for One Lonely Fish and attempted to share it as they flipped the pages. A few pages in, a struggle ensued. My daughter exclaiming, “It’s my favorite!” The fighting continued despite my rational response, “But look there are so many other books!” Tears. More fighting. More tears.

There is something about the book’s vibrant colors, it’s triangle-shaped pages that get smaller and smaller, and the growing sequence of fish for the BIG lonely fish to chomp down on that was appealing to my kids and I suspect others. This is why One Lonely Fish is the selection for this inaugural math book magic Monday.

I would recommend this board book for toddlers, pre-school aged children and kindergartners. WARNING if you have toddler sharks in the water: Landon took a bite out of the library copy. It is durable, but perhaps not toddler teeth proof.


I am one lonely fish out in this big blogosphere sea. Feel free to drop me a line in the comments or follow me on twitter (@KellyDarkeMath).

Have a magical math book you’d like share? Please go to the Shared booklist to find out how.  If you’d like to receive these magical math book posts each Monday, be sure to follow this blog in the side bar of this page.

Thanks and see you next Monday! #mathbookmagic



  1. You really make it seem so easy along with your presentation but I find this matter to be really one thing which I feel I might never understand. It kind of feels too complex and very vast for me. I am taking a look ahead to your next put up, I’ll attempt to get the grasp of it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great point Alex! The sidebar is no longer there! Originally it said something to the effect of: A palindrome is a number/word that reads the same backwards and forwards. For example, BOB or 101. And so a number corresponding to the date July 10th, 2017, namely 7102017 (or 71017 if you prefer), is a palindrome (if you disregard the 0 that is sometimes written in front of the month AND you are in a country, like I am, where the month is read first). Also, the rest of the week (and then some) works the same way if you disregard the 20 in 2017: 71117, 71217, 71317, 71417, 71517, 71617, 71717, 71817, 71917. Hope this helps. Thanks for reading!


  3. […] One Lonely Fish from creators Alan Mansfield and Thomas Flintham was our ignagural magical math book. Two years later this board book has held up swimmingly to multiple reads. Landon (now 3) is even “reading” it himself now.  This book is great for developing one–to-one correspondence. The book’s nested pages and the growing sequence of fish for the BIG lonely fish to chomp down appeal to my kids and I suspect others. (Counting book, Amazon link: One Lonely Fish.) […]


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