ABC and Do by Lee Singh and Karen Wall
|ABC and Do by Lee Singh and Karen Wall|
|Category: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Margaret Young|
|Summary: ABC and Do gives your child plenty to do while they learn the alphabet.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 24||Date: August 2013|
|Publisher: Egmont Books Ltd|
Being able to recognise letters is an essential aspect of emergent literacy. I know so many parents and children who feel that being able to sing their ABC's is the same as knowing the alphabet. It isn't. A child must be able to recognise the letter forms, in upper and lower cases, identify them by name and understand the sound or phoneme made by each. Learning the alphabet is something that most children will need some help with at home. No matter how good the school your child attends, it is impossible for a teacher to give each child the individual attention required to master this subject easily, and failure to do so often leads to lifelong difficulties in literacy.
There are a myriad of choice now to help your child learn the alphabet. The number of electronic toys which claim to teach the alphabet is staggering. Then there are flash cards, blocks, puzzles, board games, videos, video games and of course apps. These may all serve some purpose, and I have to admit I own or have owned at least one example for each of these categories. But none of them can compare with the alphabet book for helping a child with this crucial step in reading readiness. I believe a child should have several alphabet books - most of them have different strengths and weaknesses, but more importantly, we don't want a child to be able to recognise the letter only when it is paired with one picture. I own over 20 alphabet books. I have spent hours or even days choosing each one. Finding really good alphabet books is a challenge. Amazon lists 8,404 children's alphabet books, and I'm sorry but I consider a very large number of these little more than glorified flash cards with the added issue of being so mind-numbingly boring that frequent use could put a child off books altogether. Creating an alphabet book that is educational and entertaining is difficult enough. Creating one that honestly has some different to offer than the other 8,000+ is real a challenge. Lee Singh and Karen Wall have succeeded on all three fronts admirably.
ABC and Do begins with the stereotypical A is for apple. There is a large clear upper case A and brightly illustrated apple. But let's face it, an apple isn't very exciting. What makes this book worthwhile is the way the next letter is presented. The child lifts a flap and sees a large bite taken from the apple - and a very happy mouse. The book continues in this vein. Many of the letters are paired, either sharing a single illustration, or two pictures that go together. The flaps are truly ingenious, and even my eight year old really enjoyed exploring this book. My sons loved an old fashioned telephone with a dial, especially when my oldest discovered that spinning the dial fast enough would allow you to read the word dial under the finger holes. Other big hits included a washing machine with a spinning drum, a quacking duck and giraffe that raises its long neck to illustrate G for giraffe and H for height. Surprisingly though one of their favourite illustrations was of nothing - literally. There is one page which is completely black except the text which reads N is for Nothing. Simple, but effective and the children thought it was brilliant. I loved the inclusion of a mirror for the letter Y, but I think Z was my favourite - even though it took me a minute to figure it out. It has a unique style of opening but the result is stunning.
I am a very difficult customer to please with alphabet books. I am afraid I find fault with the vast majority of them, and I'd toss more than half them straight into the bin. Even among the better books, I have often resorted to adding stickers of the letters to make up for highly stylised fonts that are not suitable for pre-readers or the lack of clear letter for the child to read at all. In all honesty, I cannot find a single flaw, no matter how minor with this book. The pictures are bright and bold, certain to catch the interest of the youngest child, and finding the friendly mouse on every page will keep younger children engaged as well.
The flaps and dials are sturdy and well made. They have obviously been designed with inquisitive little hands in mind. The letters are large clear and easy to read and both upper and lower case letters are used. An upper case character starts each sentence and the lower case character is used to begin the word for that letter. The activities will keep a restless child interested and associating the activity with the letter is a real bonus for kinesthetic learners. The fact that my eight year old enjoyed this so much convinces me that this book could be suitable for children whose reading skills have been delayed as well. My four year old of course was delighted by the book. This book has already been read several times and the children show no signs of losing interest. Both children have suggested a 5 star rating.
In addition to its value as an ABC book, I would also recommend this book for anyone who collects pop up or lift the flap books. This is an example of paper engineering that can be enjoyed by a very wide age range.
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You can read more book reviews or buy ABC and Do by Lee Singh and Karen Wall at Amazon.com.
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