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The Monster Alphabet

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Author: Michael P Spradlin / Illustrator: Jeff Weigel / Hardcover: 32 pages / Publisher: Price Stern Sloan / Published: 16 Aug 2012

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      23.04.2013 22:49
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      A fun change from the average alphabet books.

      If your child likes monsters, but nothing too spooky, this might be just the book for you. The Monster alphabet begins with a young explorer, Morgan Marvin Marshall on expedition to discover monsters from A - Z. Each page has a large upper case letter ( no lower case letters), the name of the monster - or creature, (some like elves hardly qualify as monsters in my opinion) and two rhyming lines about the creature. Additionally there is a cute picture, of monsters who look more cuddly than blood curdling and our explorer friend, Marvin. The illustrations are well drawn, but very cartoon like. None of the monsters appear frightening at all, and most are quite friendly looking. The dragon is carrying a doll, and another monster has a cuddly unicorn. Even the zombies look fairly tame, as one tries to read a book upside down, and another tries sings for the microphone held out by Marvin while playing a strange stringed box I assume begins with a U.

      If this was all there was to this book, it most likely would have found it's way to the charity shop by now. The best part of this book is that each page has several other items to find, each beginning with the same letter as the monster. For instance, D has a dragon holding a doll, but it also has a duck, doctor, dog, daisies and a door.

      My son does like a few of the cute pictures, especially the dragon and the doll. he finds several other illustrations funny as well, such as two imps, which look like male blue fairies struggling to carry a sleeping infant while the third eats an ice cream without helping at all. It is the small doses of humour that save this book from being overly cutesy, and my son does like pointing out the extra objects, even though they are very easy to find. Both boys found the zombies score of 0 on an IQ test amusing as well.

      It is not one of my sons favourite ABC books, but he does have a lot to choose from. He does enjoy it now and again though, so it isn't a total waste. I do think my son has more ABC books than most, so I won't rate too harshly for this not being his favourite, and of course different children have different tastes. He prefers his monsters a bit more frightening. I like the inclusion of so many items that start with the same letter as this does encourage phonemic awareness, a necessary prerequisite to reading readiness. I think this makes it useful for children who may know the letter names already but have not learned all the sounds yet as well as those learning their ABC's. I would have preferred upper and lower case letters, but have made do with my usual solution of adding stickers. The rhymes are also useful for encouraging phonemic awareness and very well written. This book may not be perfect for us, but is is till fun to read now and then again, and is ever so much more fun than the old fashioned A is for apple type alphabet books.

      There is very little in this book that could frighten even a very young child or toddler. The closest to scary this comes is a a picture of a friendly smiling vampire, but the words underneath read: " At an inn in Transylvania, if there is a knock upon the door, do not let the vampire in - he'll drink your blood and ask for more". This might be worrisome for some children with a scary picture, but doesn't come across as scary at all with the friendly illustration. I can't really see this frightening anyone but parents can judge this best for themselves.

      Finally- for any of you who happen to be Rolling Stones fans - there is a gargoyle playing a guitar that reminds me quite a bit of Keith Richards.

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