Tuesday, November 4, 2014

PICTURE BOOK MONTH: Alphabet Books


ABOUT THE BOOK

From the team who brought you The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore comes an alphabet tale extraordinaire!

Once upon a time there was no alphabet, only numbers;

Life was fine. Orderly. Dull as gray paint. Very numberly. But our five jaunty heroes weren't willing to accept that this was all there could be. They knew there had to be more.

So they broke out hard hats and welders, hammers and glue guns, and they started knocking some numbers together. Removing a piece here. Adding a piece there. At first, it was awful. But the five kept at it, and soon it was artful! One letter after another emerged, until there were twenty-six. Twenty-six letters and they were beautiful. All colorful, shiny, and new. Exactly what our heroes didn't even know they were missing.

And when the letters entered the world, something truly wondrous began to happen. Pizza! Jelly beans! Color! Books!

Based on the award-winning app, this is William Joyce and Moonbots Metropolis-inspired homage to everyone who knows there is more to life than shades of black and gray.

REVIEW

I found myself thoroughly enthralled with this imaginative look at the alphabet.  The way the gray world slowly adds color once the alphabet has been created provides a vivid look at the value that letters and words bring to the world.  Plus the characters are adorable. The directionality of the book makes it challenging for a read-aloud but I'm looking forward to trying it to get a kid's eye view of this most unique alphabet book.


ABOUT THE BOOK

If words make up the stories and letters make up the words, then stories are made up of letters. In this menagerie we have stories made of words, made FOR all the letters.

The most inventive and irresistible book of the year spans a mere 26 letters (don't they all!) and 112 pages. From an Astronaut who's afraid of heights, to a Bridge that ends up burned between friends, to a Cup stuck in a cupboard and longing for freedom, Once Upon an Alphabet is a creative tour de force from A through Z. Slyly funny in a way kids can't resist, and gorgeously illustrated in a way readers of all ages will pour over, this series of interconnected stories and characters explores the alphabet in a way that will forever raise the bar.

In Once Upon an Alphabet, #1 New York Times bestseller Oliver Jeffers has created a stunning collection of words and artwork that is a story book, alphabet book, and gorgeously designed art book all in one.

REVIEW

I quite enjoyed this alphabet book.  I'm not sure if I laughed so much because the stories are so strange or because it was late at night, but in any case I found these short (very short) stories quite amusing.  There is a great deal of creativity demonstrated here that would be fun to try to replicate in a classroom.  Each story focuses on one letter using several words that start with that letter to create characters, a very short plot, and setting.  One of my favorites were the owl and octopus who like to look for problems to solve and thus show up in several following stories as well.  Trust Oliver Jeffers to come up with unique combinations such as elephants trying to fit into an envelope or an astronaut that is afraid of being more than three feet off the ground. There is lots to enjoy here in this alphabet book that is perfect for young and old.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Steampunk is fun! Steampunk is imaginative! It's making something new out of something old. It's dressing up in clothing from long ago. It's inventing machines out of hardware and found objects. It's creating a make-believe world! In Professor Whiskerton Presents Steampunk ABC, two mice dressed in Victorian clothing use gadgets and found objects ? each starting with a letter of the alphabet?to build something fantastic - which is revealed at the end. A wonderful and delightful surprise!

REVIEW

Steampunk has become a big thing in literature for older readers but this is the first I've seen for younger readers and the author/illustrator does a great job.  Not only are the illustrations fabulous, but so is the invention that everything leads toward.  Each letter represents something related to this mysterious invention.  The clever hints that are hidden along the way were fun to find and ponder.  It was especially clever the way the invention fits right into the alphabet along with everything else.  A fun and different take on the alphabet.

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