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A Heart For Home: Guest Post: Crazy for Alphabet Books

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Guest Post: Crazy for Alphabet Books

Guest post by Julie Kieras from A Year with Mom & Dad.

When I taught 7th and 8th grade, I frequently utilized picture books to instruct students in various writer’s craft techniques. It sometimes took a while to get students past the idea that well-written and illustrated picture books are not “baby books,” but are indeed remarkable pieces of literature in their own right.

What I am discovering as a new mother, is that there are hidden gems of literary value to be found in alphabet (or A-B-C) books as well. I have started collecting unique and intriguing alphabet books that I scavenge for at library book sales and online! Here are some of my favorites.
The Z Was Zapped: A Play in Twenty-Six Acts
The Z Was Zapped – Chris Van Allsburg – Best known for his story Jumanji, Van Allsburg does not disappoint the littlies in this fun alphabet book, where every letter takes their turn on stage, but befall terrible fates… The black pencil drawings add to the mystery. And the disastrous events are not revealed until you flip the page, so children have to “read the picture” and imagine what might be happening to the letters… turn the page and they find out in a line of nimble alliteration: “A was in an avalanche; the B was badly bitten; the C was cut to ribbons…”
Alphabet City
Alphabet City – Stephen T. Johnson – Hand painted city scenes depict capital letters formed by urban elements such as a sawhorse forming the letter A, a fire-escape tracing the outline of a Z. Some of the letters are very obviously formed, and others take time to surface from their surroundings, but are no less enchanting when the eye discovers them!
ABC I Like Me!
ABC I Like Me! - Nancy Carlson – This alphabet book follows a happy pig through his day as he recognizes all the ways he is “Awesome, Brave, Cheerful…” and all the things he likes to do like play “Outside,… be Polite, …Quiet, … Read…” The illustrations are marked with a large, colorful letter in the upper corner to also teach the letter’s shape.
From Acorn to Zoo: and Everything in Between in Alphabetical Order
From Acorn to Zoo: and Everything in Between in Alphabetical Order – Satoshi Kitamura – a more complex vocabulary book, each page asks a question: “What is the armadillo balancing on his nose?” (an apple, apricot, almond, and acorn). A larger picture contains about a dozen other interesting labeled pictures that go along with the letter. The word choices in this particular alphabet book will surely expand your little one’s vocabulary! (ambulance, binoculars, clarinet, kingfisher, and quartet to name a few!). Upper and lower case letters are shown with each picture.
Ape in a Cape: An Alphabet of Odd Animals
Ape in a Cape: An Alphabet of Odd Animals – Fritz Eichenberg – Rhymes make this alphabet book fun to read, from Ape in a cape, to Goat in a boat, Mouse in a blouse, and Quail on the trail! The hand-drawn pictures are bold and colorful.

Double Delight: Alphabet
Double Delight: Alphabet – Mary Novick and Sybel Harlin – An interactive “flip the flap” book – each alphabet is depicted with an illustration (A is for Apple) but flip the flap and that apple opens up into an angel! The double illustrations are clever, and will often amaze even adults!

I love discovering a new alphabet book that goes beyond the “A is for Apple” routine, adds a unique storyline, or uses unusual illustrations. It keeps reading to my baby fresh for me, and also exposes children to a wider variety of vocabulary words, yet within the familiar structure of the alphabet they are growing to know so well!
What alphabet books have been your favorites? I would love to add to my list!

Julie Kieras is a freelance writer and blogger from Connecticut. She blogs about family life, parenting and product reviews at her blog, A Year With Mom and Dad. She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter

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Blogger Julie Kieras said...

I love the widget at the bottom! How were you able to get that on your blog - I am very curious!
Thanks for letting me guest post! :)

March 24, 2011 at 11:43 AM  
Blogger RaeO said...

Ooh, those books all look great!

March 24, 2011 at 12:16 PM  

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