-Style, Content & Format -
As the title suggests, this is an alphabet book for children. It is a large hardcover book which makes it quite cumbersome and almost impossible for young children to comfortably hold so we find that it's best looked at on the floor or table etc.
Each double page spread shows 4 letters with the exception of the last page, given that there are 26 letters in the English alphabet.
For each letter, there's a description that begins with the letter with clues in the sentences as well as sections of the animal showing in the picture. There are five lines (some of which rhyme) for each animal and therefore letter of the alphabet. On each page, the text is on the left hand side of the page and is quite small. To the right of this description there is a large lower case letter behind which the reader can see some of the animal, e.g.
'Can you guess which animal it is?
With its head up in the trees?
Long neck, long legs, long tongue.
It eats the highest, sweetest leaves.
It begins with the letter.......'
There is a large 'g' to the right of this text and a giraffe can be seen peeping above the letter, eating some leaves.
Either at the top or bottom of the page, depending on where the large letter is placed on the page, there is a small tab with an arrow on, pointing which way to pull it. When you pull it, the whole of the animal is displayed and the reader is able to confirm whether or not they are correct in their guess. The tab can then be pushed back in, which is recommended as those left out can be broken or ripped although they are made from thin card.
- Illustrations -
All of the pages have a white background and are full of simple yet effective drawings. What I like about this book is the fact that all of the animals actually resemble real-life animals and aren't adorned with clothes, hats etc which quite a lot of books do. The only exception to the realistic appearance of the creatures shown in the book is the elephant which is for some reason pink!
- My Opinion -
This book has a number of educational values above fostering enjoyment in reading and books in general:
~ Introduces children to a wide range of animals, including iguanas, lions, jellyfish, newts and even quails.
~ Can be used for early letter recognition and initial letter sounds in words.
~ Introduces the concept of alphabetical order.
~ The rhyme isn't obvious and can be quite tricky for younger children to identify the rhyming words at the end of the some of the lines but can still be used as an introduction to rhyme to build upon.
~ One of its aims is possibly to develop fine motor skills, encouraging small, young fingers to get hold of the tabs and pull them to show the animal. However it has to be said that the tabs are quite tricky to get hold of and need 'starting' off by an adult, by pulling it out a little bit for small fingers to be able to grab hold of. Not great for independent use because of this.
~ The size and weight of the book is also a little bit of a problem in terms of young children being able to take this from a pile or bookshelf when they choose to 'read' this book.
- Overall -
Good at introducing initial sounds and letters to children as well as a variety of animals but there are also disadvantages to the book. I think that flaps to lift would have been more appropriate than tricky tabs to pull for young children. Hence the 3 star rating despite it's educational benefits.
- Price -
The RRP of this book is £9.99, ISBN: 1-902367-63-4, however amazon are selling used and new copies from just 1p. A good book but not worth the RRP so look for cheaper options.
Thanks for reading.
N.B. Review also appears on ciao.