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Product Type: Books
Age: Early Elementary School Years
Categories: Concept Books

 

The Most Amazing Hide-and-Seek Alphabet Book
(by Robert Crowther, Candlewick $12.99 Score:)

As alphabet books go, this is better than most. That said, there are some pretty strange choices for some of the letters…i.e. umbrella bird, vole, and x-ray fish. These are pretty unusual choices. Unlike most of Robert Crowther’s pop up books, the pops on this are also a bit flimsier than others. It is being released at the same time as a counting book that uses the same format. Unfortunately, that book misses an opportunity to show children groups that make counting more than a one by one experience. It shows teens without ever grouping a group of ten objects and the group of ones as in 15 parakeets with six instead of five birds sitting on a perch…that would have reinforced the true meaning of 15…or eighteen seahorses with seven seahorses on one side of the pop up and the others on the pop up. Similarly, the tens, such as 20, 30, 40, etc…are not grouped by tens in any way. The illustrations are a missed learning opportunity.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2010.

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Country Road ABC
(by Arthur Geisert, Houghton Mifflin $ Score:)

We usually love Arthur Geisert’s work. His illustrations usually carry the story and tell a story well beyond those on the printed page….but an ABC that opens with Ammonia fertilizer for “A” and Barn Cats for “B” would have been better off with no words. As always the illustrations, of the book, subtitled, ‘A Journey though America’s Farmland’ are full of the humor and detail this artist brings to his audience. But certainly there could have been a better choice than “disking” to illustrate the letter “d” in farmland…how about Digging…Ducklings…even Dirt? We just have to wonder if “quicksand” is all that common or “Steel roofing” is the best he could do for “S”. This looks like one of those times when everyone forgot the book’s audience. Bring it home to look at and talk over, but forget the text!

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Lyle Walks the Dogs, A Counting Book
(by Bernard Waber/ illus. by Paulis Waber, Houghton Mifflin $12.99 Score:)

Welcome back Lyle, everyone's favorite crocodile. In this counting book, Lyle has taken up dog walking and on each turn of the page he has another dog that joins the day's walk. There's not a lot of story here, but the counting is simple enough for beginners and ends on a happy note. Illustrated by Bernard Waber's daughter, Paulis, for whom the first Lyle book was dedicated many years ago.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
LMNO Peas
(by Keith Baker, Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster $16.99 Score:)

A cast of little green peas build, climb, camp, and race through all the letters in the alphabet. There are lots of small details to pour over in this action packed alphabet. The big bold letters are shown in caps on the pages, but the words that match the letters are written in lower case. What the peas do is told in rhyme, such as: "We're gardeners, gigglers, givers and takers. We're hikers, inventors, and investigators." The language is more appropriate for older preschoolers and early grade children. In fact, they might be inspired (with a little nudge) to make their own versions of this book, activating a batch of peas with the letters of the alphabet or maybe they will switch to carrots or some very active cherry tomatoes.

 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Sugar Cookies
(by Amy Krouse Rosenthal/ illus. by Jane & Brooke D, HarperCollins $14.95 Score:)

Want to stretch both vocabulary and perhaps an understanding of the many ways to share love? Subtitled, Sweet Little Lessons on Love, this defines such words as selflessness, considerate, supportive, tenderness, and others. It's a kind of dictionary for such terms, and each is defined with a few sentences that connect to baking cookies. What a delicious way to learn about the sweeter things in life and giving kids the words to express more than the rudimentary terms of endearment. The Dyers' illustrations mix a world of children and animals having tea-parties, mice baking cookies, goats and pigs going to bake sales, and both animals and children dressed in clothing. It's an old-fashioned kind of world that has the look of childhood in the 1930's with milk in glass bottles, big hair ribbon bows, and gathering eggs in a basket. 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
The Quiet Book
(by Deborah Underwood/ illus. by Renata Liwska, Houghton Mifflin $12.95 Score:)

Did you ever think of the many kinds of quiet? This charming little concept book is mossy green and the little creatures that tip toe though are illustrated in muted tones that match the gentle text. There are some amusing kinds of quiet, as in "thinking of a good reason you were drawing on the wall" or "making a wish quiet." A good book for getting children to dream up their own examples of quiet? This just may inspire some original books of quiet or how about noisy?  5-7

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
When Lucy Goes Out Walking
(by Ashley Wolff, Henry Holt $16.99 Score:)

Learning the months of the year takes time. This charming book about a puppy’s first year is a good way to introduce or reinforce the names and order of the months. It is also a book that reflects the seasons as they are lived in the northern part of the country where snow is familiar. Ashley Wolff’s playful illustrations have a quiet charm. 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Alphabeasties and Other Amazing Types
(by Sharron Werner, illus. by Sara Forss, Blue Apple $19.99 Score:)

An original look at the alphabet. Each animal pictured from A to Z is composed with a variety of a particular letter in lowercase and upper and in bold and light for shading. The featured creature fills the page and other small examples of items that start with the same letter are found in blocks at the bottom or side of the page. While some of the hard to fill letters, such as U, Y and X are a bit of a stretch, this is a book for older preschoolers and early school years kids who will enjoy the esoteric choices on these few pages. They might even like making other alphabet collections inspired by this beastie collection. A great way to get kids to practice writing the same letters in a playful way.

 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2009 Award
Dogs Don't Brush Their Teeth
(by Diane deGroat and Shelley Rotner, Orchard $14.99 Score:)

An amusing concept book that contrasts things that dogs do and don't do. Using photographs and the digital magic of Photoshop, they created some truly LOL images.  The only text here is "Dogs do" or "Dogs don't" so for beginning readers the text is all in the photos. An entertaining choice for kids who like to think they can read long before they really can. It’s also a fun way to conceptualize how the same word can mean very different things in context…a very big concept. 4-7

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2001 Awards
ABC T-Rex
(by Bernard Most, Harcourt $13 Score:) Most never seems to run out of ways to serve up dinos. This time it's a T-Rex and how he enjoys eating alphabetically. Kids will enjoy hunting for other things that begin with each letter as they study the details of each page. 4–7.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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