Dec 15, 2011

The Alphabet

with Wild Animals
by Melanie Watt

You read through lots of alphabet books when you have little kids. And you start to notice the similarities and differences between them. For example, most of them seem to begin with A is for Alligator and end with Z is for Zebra. Lots of other animals are fairly common for certain letters of the alphabet: E- elephant, K- kangaroo, Y- yak, etc. What's really interesting is to see what animals the authors can come up for the hard letters like Q or X.

This version is completely charming. The illustrations in The Alphabet: Learning with Animals are simple yet descriptive, and the backgrounds show each wild animal's appropriate habitat with very few elements. It's just right for little kids. I also really like that the opening spread shows all the featured animals grouped together. Something different, and nice. Some of the more unusual (for an ABC book) and interesting animals here are the quetzal (a fantastic Central American bird), narwhal, monarch butterfly, salamander, tuna fish, orangutan, xerus (a ground squirrel) and unau (the two-toed sloth). I did have a few small quibbles with the book, though. One is the W animal: wapiti. I thought elk was a more common name for this animal, I don't know why you would introduce children to the less-used term (I would also have used the sloth for S not U, but I know it's hard to think of a U animal! the last book I saw had unicorn). The elephant's trunk on the E page looks awkward: too big, like a chopped hose. And the rhinocerous looks like he has cloven hooves, not three-toed feet. Small things, but I started to notice them after so many readings.

rating: 3/5 ........ 30 pages, 2003


Chandra said...

Love Melanie Watt and love ABC books! I'll have to check this one out. I went through quite the ABC book obsession about 4 years ago!

Trish said...

Ha! I love how descriptive you are about this book. Very helpful. And a xerus?! Though I guess that's better than a mythical unicorn.

I recently saw a review for a really interesting alphabet book--will have to go through your recent archives as I think it might have been you! Need to make better note of books I see and want.

Jeane said...

Chandra- I've been wanting to get ahold of her shapes one, the triangle shaped fish on the cover looks so cute.

Trish- Hm, I don't think it was me. I think this is the first alphabet book I've reviewed. Let me know when you spot it, I want to know what it was!

Chandra said...

We love her Scaredy Squirrel and her Chester books! They are a hoot!