There was a time when I collected alphabet books and had more than 100 of them at school and at home. A few remain among my favorite books to this day. One day I should write a post about them, or use them as part of a workshop with teachers and librarians. I think it takes incredible talent to write a book meant to inform readers about the 26 letters that make up our alphabet, and have it be original and as glorious as this one is. Emerging readers find them useful, and often entertaining. That is good.
No ordinary ABC book, it is wonderfully designed and meant to make older readers think twice about the concept of letters and encourage their taking the time to calmly consider all aspects of the images. It also gives little ones a chance to stop and look carefully at each lovely spread. Here, there are only letters. There are no words! Yet, in the images she has created for a single letter on varied spreads, Kim Krans teases her readers to find more than what is obvious at first glance.
The letters are prominently displayed on white backgrounds. They are outlined with black to make them stand out and generally accompanied by a collection of items that begin with said letter. Some pages are pretty straightforward, others a bit more complicated, requiring concentrated thought. They definitely build vocabulary and a sense of contemplation as a reader thinks through what is actually included in each illustration. It's a great game to play between parent and child when the child is ready to think deeply and for an extended period of time. For little ones, it is a reminder of those letters that make up the words they are so busy trying to recognize as they start down the road to being literate and taking an active part in reading independently.
If you have a collection or are thinking of starting one, you need this book!