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

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Non-Fiction
Alphabeasties and Other Amazing Types

Alphabeasties and Other Amazing Types

Fall 2009 Non-Fiction
Ages: 4 - 8 yrs.
Author: Sharon Werner
Author: Sarah Forss
Illustrator: Sharon Werner
Illustrator: Sarah Forss
Publisher: Blue Apple Books
ISBN: 978-1-934706-78-7
Hardcover Price: $19.99
While font-awareness has not yet been identified as an educational goal, kids will nevertheless be intrigued by seeing that the many shapes, styles, and sizes of individual letters and alphabets are considered to be an artistic element in their own right. In this ode to typography, a cloud of upper and lower case "A's" form an alligator surrounded by strings of algae; a column of "G's" creates a giraffe standing in tall grass; and curling tendrils of "O's" become an octopus in the ocean. Separate blocks arranged across the top (or bottom) of the pages supply additional visual jokes as do occasional cleverly designed fold-outs: a man sports a mustache made out of "m's"; a pig's nose is really a "p"; the lapels on a vest are actually a "v." Younger children may use this simply as an alphabet book: the animal silhouettes are--for the most part--readily identifiable. Older children will pore over the visual puns. End notes invite kids to make up their own fonts and supply the names of the various typefaces used throughout the book. This is a unique offering with multi-aged appeal.
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard   ©2009 Parents' Choice
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard is the Coordinator of Youth Services for the Arlington Public Library system. She has taught courses on children’s and young adult literature at the Catholic University of America and the University of Virginia. She has served on both the Newbery and Caldecott Award Committees of the American Library Association and has chaired the Notable Children’s Recordings Committee and the May Hill Arbuthnot Award Committee. She is a member and past president of the Children’s Book Guild of Washington DC and has chaired the Washington Post–Book Guild Nonfiction Award Committee. She is a founding member of Capitol Choices, an organization of professionals in the field of children’s literature in the greater Washington DC area. She regularly reviews children’s literature and audio productions for a variety of national publications.

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