Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
The Alphabet Keeper

The Alphabet Keeper

Spring 2003 Picture Books
Ages: 4 - 8 yrs.
Author: Mary Murphy
ISBN: 0-375-82347-6
Hardcover Price: $14.95
There's just no limit to what 26 little letters can do once they're loose in the world, as children will soon discover in the pages of this delightfully irreverent book. Language is power, literally, as words morph from "park" to "bark," and "stop" to "pots" while escaping the clutches of the Alphabet Keeper. The word "loud" becomes a cloud in which the letters hide, while the not-so-scary villain falls, dazzled, when "rats" becomes "star." Author Mary Murphy's concept is clever and playful, and the hapless Alphabet Keeper is genuinely amusing. Best of all, by seeing how rearrangements and substitutions of letters change words and their meanings, children are learning critical skills for reading. The book has a visual energy in both words and pictures, with thickly drawn illustrations and an appealing palate of greens, yellows and blues. This is an especially good pick for beginning readers-once they master the lessons learned here, there'll be no stopping them, either.
Zarina Mullan Plath   ©2003 Parents' Choice
Zarina Mullan Plath has undergraduate degrees in both biology and English. Her interests include cookbooks/culinary history, South Asian literature (especially in regards to South Asians in America), and, of course, children's literature. Her poetry is included in the anthology Sweeping Beauty (U. of Iowa Press, 2005). Zarina lives in Central Illinois with her husband, two children, and assorted pets.

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