The focus for May is alphabet books mixed in with other books I have agreed to review. Graeme Base set a new standard when he created Animalia, an amazing seek and find alphabet book. Other authors/artists have interpreted the alphabet book differently. I have already reviewed some interesting takes on this type of book. In A is for Africa, Michael I. Samulak and Sswaga Sendiba created a beautiful blend of two cultures using batik illustration and African animals. Kellen Hatanaka’s Occupational A B C Work interprets each letter as a potential occupation. I’ve also reviewed Diana Bonder’s A, B, Sea: A Deep Sea Symphony and L M N O Peas by Keith Baker.
It is fascinating to see what people have done with the alphabet. There are location themes: Canadian, Algonquin, and British Columbia. There are silly stories about animals, Bad Kitty and Snappsy the Alligator, that eat everything in sight – in alphabetical order. Some are based on popular interests such as R is for Race: A Stock Car Alphabet or P is for Princess: A Royal Alphabet. Some try to encourage good habits like ABC Doctor and ABC Letters in the Library. Many tie into the curriculum such as the Pioneer Alphabet. Others just try to include as many words as possible beginning with the letter no matter how zany the results Aster Aardvarks Alphabet Adventures and The Alphabet From A to Y with Bonus Letter Z. Some are quirky such as The Little Book of Big Fears. The Three Bears, An Alphabet Book puts an inventive spin on a classic story. Some are seriously important such as A is for Anaconda: A Rainforest Alphabet. I’m sure you’ll find a new take on the alphabet book.
During this exploration of the alphabet, I will also share some ideas for engaging your child in learning letters. Here’s one game I play with my granddaughter.
Find the Clues
To create atmosphere, provide a child with a small flashlight and a detective style hat. Dim the lights but not too much. Have slips of brightly colored paper, each with a letter from their name, hidden around the room or house. As the child finds the “clues”, he or she arranges the letters in order on a table. If they absolutely love this game, try the whole alphabet.