Posts tagged ‘alphabet’

May 18, 2011

The little alphabet book that could, (“A is for salad”)

Is there anything more annoying than an alphabet book?  I mean, yes, Q is for Quail and Queen.  And yes, I get that xylophone starts with an X.  Sure, some books manage to do things a little differently.  I would have never learned about Umbrella birds or Question-mark butterflies without a two-year-old and an increasing pile of alphabet books.  But I find most of them abhorrent and would issue this advice to anyone planning to write a new alphabet book: it’s not so much about the P’s and Q’s as it is about the X’s and Q’s.  figure out what you are going to do with those letters first, and if you don’t have a truly great idea that really fits with what you are doing, write a different kind of book.

But with this book, someone came along with a really good idea.  “A is for Salad”.  I loved it before I even opened it.

Title: A is for Salad
Author/Illustrator: Mike Lester
Genre: Picture Book, Alphabet Book (Yes, I think alphabet books are a genre all to themselves!)
Age: 2 – 6, but really best for those who are pretty good with their letters and ready for a fun new challenging way to practice them

Summary and Review:

I was SO excited about this book!  It does exactly what I want my picture books to do–draws my child into to the text and makes him respond out loud!

In this beautifully conceived book, each letter of the alphabet seems to stand for something it doesn’t.  A is for salad, B is for viking, C is for hot dog.  But then you look closer.  This is a book you have to interact with!  (Yea!)  The picture is of an alligator eating a salad.  And a beaver dressed up as a viking.  It’s brilliant.  My three year-old loved it.  He loved saying “WHAT?!” with an incredulous expression on his face after I read each one.  And then he would respond with enthusiasm (and much drama–we are three, after all).  “NO, A is not for SALAD,” he would say as if that were the funniest, most ridiculous thing in the world.  “A is for ALLIGATOR!!!”  And so on and so forth throughout the whole book.  It was truly awesome.  I’m always saying that you have to get your kids interacting with their books, and this one does it for you.  It’s a really fun read, and gets kids to think about the letters instead of passively listen to them be recited.

My only quibble with the book is the illustrations.  Because of the way they are drawn, some of the animals are tricky to guess.  Since the whole point is for the kid to say the name of the animal, I would rather if it was a little more clear.  But no matter, and after one reading they will get it anyway.

You will love this one and your kids will love interacting with it.