Take Away the A by Michael Escoffier and Kris Di Giacomo

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Take Away the A by Michael Escoffier and Kris Di Giacomo

Category: Emerging Readers
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Z J Cookson
Reviewed by Z J Cookson
Summary: An inspired concept for an alphabet book that children from about age 7 or 8 will enjoy – provided they don't consider the picture book format too young for them.
Buy? No Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 64 Date: October 2015
Publisher: Anderson Press
External links: [checked Author's website]
ISBN: 978-1783443444

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What happens when you take away the letter 'A' from the word 'Beast'? You get 'Best'! Similarly without the 'B' the 'Bride' goes for a 'Ride' or without the 'C' the 'Chair' has 'Hair'.

I don't think I need to go on for you to get the idea of how this alphabet book works. It is a truly inspired idea that made me very excited to get hold of the book. Sadly, the reality didn't live up to my expectation.

Take Away the A is presented in the format of a regular picture book. Picture books – in the UK at least – are normally designed for sharing with children before they can read. This book, however, relies on children having a sound knowledge of words and how they are spelt. This inevitably makes it more suitable for older children, possibly age 8 plus. Will these children really enjoy a book that has the appearance of something more suitable for their younger brother, sister or cousins?

This is a shame as the book could be both educational and enjoyable for these older children and this is why, despite the outward appearance, I decided to categorise this as a book for emerging readers.

The book jacket invites the reader to search for their own word pairs, saying there are 'loads more out there'. If this is the case, I can't help but wonder why the authors chose so many obscure ones for inclusion in the book. For example, I realise that 'Q' is a difficult letter but I needed google to find out what a 'Faqir' is (and, interestingly, several online dictionaries disagreed!).

The colours throughout the book are rather muted but maybe, by spurning vibrant colours, the illustrator is trying to give a more 'grown up' look to the book in order to appeal to older children. I do think children will enjoy the humour in the illustrations: for example, there is a great picture of the mouse tail sticking out of the cat's mouth or an Octopus clinging onto a parachuting monkey. However, I didn't like it where the illustrator's American roots led them to draw trousers for pants (or possibly the book was initially designed for an audience in the USA).

Overall, although this book failed to live up to my expectations, it remains a good concept. If children who are old enough to understand aren't put off by the format, it will encourage them to think about spelling in a different and fun way.

If you're looking for a more traditional alphabet book for younger children why not try ABC and Do by Lee Singh and Karen Wall.

Buy Take Away the A by Michael Escoffier and Kris Di Giacomo at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Take Away the A by Michael Escoffier and Kris Di Giacomo at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Take Away the A by Michael Escoffier and Kris Di Giacomo at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Take Away the A by Michael Escoffier and Kris Di Giacomo at Amazon.com.


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