Oftentimes, people read alphabet books with toddlers or preschoolers, but I find them to be appropriate reading for kindergarteners and older kids as well. There are so many great alphabet books on the market, and their best features are often lost on younger children. Yesterday I asked my son to pick out an alphabet book from a stack I had gotten from the library. I thought we’d read just one, but after we finished the first, he asked another. The first book we read was The Turn-Around, Upside-Down Alphabet Book by Lisa Campbell Ernst. The text is written on each page such that the reader is forced to turn the book around and view each letter in four different directions. It’s an intriguing way to look at and talk about letters with kids. For each different perspective, Ernst compares the focus letter to different objects. For A, she wrote, “A becomes a bird’s beak, a drippy ice-cream cone, a point of a wishing star.” My son enjoyed trying to see why the author chose certain objects to compare the letter to, and of course, he thought of some objects he thought would be better comparisons!
After Ernst’s book, we read A is for Salad by Mike Lester. I have to admit, I looked at this book before showing it to my son, and I didn’t think much of it. This is one of those alphabet books that asks kids to figure out the relationship between the featured letter and the claim the author is making about the sound that letter makes. Most of the books I have read in the past, however, have some sort of relationship between the claim they make and object that really doesn’t begin with the focus letter. Q is for Duck is a great example of that type of book. (“Q is for duck. Why? Because a duck quacks.”) A is for Salad seemed to me to be missing the point a bit. The text reads, “A is for salad,” and it shows an alligator munching on a salad. I didn’t think it would impress my son. I was quickly proven wrong when I heard his giggles page after page. I’m glad Mr. Lester knew his audience!
If you’re intrigued, check out my list of alphabet books for additional recommendations.