Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Take Away the A, written by Michael Escoffier and illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo. Enchanted Lion Books, Publishers Group Canada. 2014. $19.95 ages 4 and up
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Two of my favorite books this year have been alphabet books. Previously, I sang the praises of Oliver Jeffers' fantastic Once Upon An Alphabet (Penguin, 2014). Now, I want to tell you about Michael Escoffier's Alphabeast of a book!
When I left my school library and teaching, we had an incredible array of alphabet books for our students to read and enjoy. I was in awe then, as I am today, that there are authors who can take such a simple concept and create a new model of excellence with 26 letters.
In this most amusing and inventive book, the author shows how removing one letter from a word can create a completely new concept:
"Without the L
PLANTS wear PANTS."
It took no time at all until I was trying my hand at doing the same. You know your readers best, and will know which kids will take this idea and run with it. The possibilities are endless, aren't they? Each of the double page spreads boast brilliant stylized illustrations that tell a story to enhance the choice of words and letter omissions made by the author. It is a perfect pairing.
Observant children will be aware that a little mouse is a frequent participant, or observer. There is humor in the depiction of the scenes, and more to the artwork than meets the eye in the initial reading. It is a celebration of language and ingenuity.
Read it again and then again, sharing it with eager listeners. You will be happy that you did and they will have much to say about the stories told here!