“ Paperback: 54 pages / Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform / Published: 16 Feb 2013 / Language: English „
Before I bought this book I looked through several ABC books on Amazon, added them all to my basket and then allowed my four year old son to choose between them. He chose this book because " it has the best pictures". That is a bit of an understatement. These pictures are absolutely beautiful, with bright and vivid colours and all sorts of things that children really like. But what makes this book really stand out among the vast numbers of alphabet books available is that each letter is incorporated into the picture. A single letter "a" becomes an astronauts space ship. "B" becomes a beetle, a butterfly and a bee. "C" is a cookie with a bite taken out.
I've always loved the practice of drawing the letter itself into the picture. Books like this are not easy to find though. To my knowledge the only books to use this style of teaching the alphabet are the Steiner Waldorf books and Curious George learns the alphabet. While I am not a strict follower of any educational philosophy, Steiner Waldorf education does have a lovely very holistic view. Rather than teaching letters as some form of abstract theory, Waldorf Education introduces letters as pictograms, in the same way early writing is thought to have evolved. This book also gives us pictograms. automatically imprinting a connection between the letter and the letter sound.
Only the upper case letters are included in the pictures. The upper case letter is also shown in a very large, chunky and colourful font in the upper left hand corner of the page. While the lower case character is not as prominently featured, it does appear in the single line for each set of pages. Each letter has a beautiful two page illustration, and the text is presented as a sentence, separated by a comma which covers tow letters. It sounds confusing, but it isn't. As an example "E is for elephant sitting up straight," is on the two page spread with the letter E. Turning the page we find "F is for fish, taking the bait". This allows the author to employ a rhyming verse which is also essential for developing pre reading skills.
There are too many truly exceptional pictures to mention them all. However my son's favourite is the H is for horse illustration with the bottom legs of the H forming a front and back leg of the horse. the line in the middle of the H is the horse's stomach and the l_l shape at the top is filled by the saddle and saddle blanket. Many of the illustrations have other items beginning with the same letter in the background. "F" has a fish shaped liked the letter "F", but it also has a fox, a frog, flies flowers, a frying pan and a fire. Unfortunately, not every page has this feature, but it does add to the fun for some of the letters.
In addition to just reading this book, something about seeing the letters presented as shapes inspired my sons to try to make letter shapes with their bodies. Sometimes the two boys would join up to form letters like "H" and "M", but surprisingly, they managed to make most letters fairly easily themselves. It has turned into a game in our house, but it combines another aspect of learning with this book - kinetic. I would highly recommend this book for any child who has not yet mastered the alphabet, and confident with both letter names and sounds. The beautiful bright colours make this book suitable from infancy, but the unique presentation of the alphabet makes this book fun for older children as well.
I paid £5.68 for this book new from Amazon. ironically, a used book would cost you twice the price by the time you factor in shipping. Even at twice the price though, I would consider this book value for money. This is one that every child should listen to as they learn their ABC's.