Greg Tang writes math poems which the reader uses to help count images in corresponding illustrations. The poems are fun and creative. One thing I love about this book is it teaches students to look for groupings of objects to count rather than counting with one to one correspondence.
This would also be a great way to model how to use multiplication in everyday life. Once students notice the number of items in a group and how many groups there are they can then solve the multiplication problem, rather than skip counting.
One of the great things about this book is that it comes with answer pages! Just in case you are just as puzzled as your students you can always check out the answer and then lead your students to the answer. :)