Wednesday, October 6, 2010

ABC Intermission Part I

I wanted to take an ABC intermission to share with you some alphabet books we like. Why is the alphabet so fascinating? We have a small collection of alphabet art and I think it might be a good idea to start an alphabet book collection too. There are so many we love, in fact, the only way I could think to narrow down our picks was to select books we actually own or ones we have checked out from the library more than once—and recently. Shall we begin?

The first book is a board book the hubs and I picked out for H before he was born. It’s called Alphabet City Out on the Streets by Michael De Feo. To create this book the artist plastered his kid-friendly silk screen art throughout the city walls of Manhattan to create a distinct and brilliant way of displaying objects that correspond to a letter in the alphabet.

Even if you are not partial to graffiti style art, the oversize images make for, not only a unique way to introduce the alphabet, but also makes for a great word book for little ones. 

Our second selection is called The Graphic Alphabet by graphic designer, David Pelletier. As a graphic designer myself, I might be moderately biased in favor of this book but I think many parents would appreciate the thoughtfulness and creativity in the way each letter is displayed.

My favorite page is the way Pelletier has portrayed the letter, V to look like vampire fangs. My 4 year old gets excited about detecting the letter shape on each page as some of the letters take a little imagination to identify.

The third alphabet pick is called Alphabeasties and other Amazing Types by Sharon Werner and Sarah Forss. The beginning of this book has an introduction about a the definition of typeface and how different typefaces can provoke various emotions so I was excited about this book from the start but my kids were so uninterested with this explanation of type that I had to skip over it and read it again later on my own time. The rest of the books content, however, they loved. Each letter of the alphabet is represented in the shape of an animal.

Another thing my kids love about this book is that many of the pages fold out so the animal image is expanded in size making the book very interactive and interesting. The book also contains other creative examples of letterforms turning into objects that they begin with (the letter, “O” could become an owl or an ornament hanging on a tree) and by the end the children are encouraged to make their own shapes from letters which I think would be a fun activity for slightly older children (ages 4 +). 

Our last recommendation is an alphabet book I received from one of my Aunts when I was younger. It’s called Animalia by Graeme Base. This book takes you on a journey through the alphabet, alliteration-style. You will truly get lost in the detailed, fanciful illustrated scenes on each page that not only suitably embodies the alliterative text but is also loaded with objects that also begin with the featured letter.

Some objects are in plain view and some objects are somewhat hidden. This book takes you on an alphabet treasure hunt you'll just have to experience for yourself. This was a favorite of mine growing up and now it’s a favorite for my kids.

(more about Project A-B-C)

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