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ABC: a Child's First Alphabet Book Board book – June 2, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 2-An inventive and beautifully illustrated book. Each page features a scene highlighting one object (apple, balloon, cow, etc.), the corresponding upper- and lowercase letter, and a simple declarative sentence ("a is for apple"). Most of the items will be familiar to young listeners. Each featured object is surrounded by several smaller things that begin with the same letter, as well as a tiny image of the key item on the following page. Thus, young readers can play "I Spy" and reinforce their understanding of the letter and its sound. The pictures add another dimension, telling an underlying story, as a woman bids farewell to a man who embarks on a journey that leads him to exotic settings where he encounters many of the featured objects. This element of fantasy is sure to provide smiles of recognition and delight. The final picture brings everyone and everything together in a nontraditional zoo. As in Jay's Picture This- (Dutton, 2000), the illustrations are captivating. The watercolor washes are done over backgrounds that simulate crazed porcelain, lending an old-fashioned feel to the paintings. The colors are easy on the eye, and the scenes are filled with marvelous detail, a clear sense of movement, and more than a touch of whimsy. A list of the items included appears at the end. More extensive than Bruno Munari's ABC (1960; Chronicle, 2003), this is a sure bet for youngsters who like to participate actively while learning their letters.
Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* PreS-Gr. 2. Similar in look and concept to Jay's Picture This (2000), this imaginative alphabet book offers visual clues to track and a story to tease out in its beautiful paintings. Each picture focuses on one large item that corresponds to a letter in the alphabet, named below the picture. For "C is for cow," a cow with an elongated body arches across a sky spreading over a landscape dotted with other items having names beginning with the letter C (a car and a cat, for example), which show up again in later pictures. The woman driving the car appears in many pictures, as does a man, first seen in a hot-air balloon, who goes on a trip and corresponds with the woman. Older children will flip from page to page, finding the simple story, drawing connections, and naming the letter-related objects. Younger ones can simply enjoy the delightful paintings with their crackle-glazed folk art look and touches of humor, including a bespectacled giraffe trimming topiary, an owl wearing a pence nez, and other animals who appear together for the last letter and word, the inevitable "z is for zoo." Kathleen Odean
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 1 - 3 years
  • Board book: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers (June 2, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525475249
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525475248
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ulyyf on June 9, 2005
Format: Board book
I wasn't especially impressed when I first saw this book. A is for apple, B is for balloon, C is for cow, basic stuff. The only thing interesting was "X marks the spot" instead of "X is for X-ray or Xylophone".

Then I realized that I'd seen many of the creatures in Z is for zoo earlier in the book.

So I re-read it. Several re-reads later, I realized that there was a tentative story in this book. Do the women and the man love each other? They write letters. Hearts are a periodic motif. The woman paints, the man explores. Do they miss each other?

So maybe a toddler won't understand that. But this is an alphabet book they'll read past toddlerhood.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Rhino king on January 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book for babies up to preschool. The pictures are simple at first, but the harder you look the more you see. My two year old enjoys shouting out everything she sees in the pictures. It is fun for us as parents to read as well. We try to find everything with that letter. It is kind of like a Where's Waldo for little ones.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By F. Hamilton on September 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I recently discovered _A B C: A Child's First Alphabet Book_ by Alison Jay. What a delight! Each letter of the alphabet is given a full page, if not a two-page spread. The text is very simple, following the "A is for apple" format. Both upper- and lowercase versions of the target letter are shown.

The art, however, is extraordinary! It usually occupies most of the page with the target object most prominent. The subtleties, though, are what give this book its whimsical charm: other objects on the page that begin with the same letter (they are all listed on the last page) and the recurrence of objects throughout the book. Nearly every page contains as a small, obscure detail the object that will be prominently featured with the next letter of the alphabet. Sometimes these are embedded secondary details -- in the pattern of a plate, for example, or on the cover of a book.

Jay's book contains all the seeds for the discovery and excitement that prompt a child to exclaim, "Look! That's just like . . ." and scurry back through the pages, searching for the remembered image. The suggestion of a story line is there, too, with an explorer, a map, and a treasure chest.

I am so grateful to have discovered Alison Jay (both author and illustrator). _A B C: A Child's First Alphabet Book_ is the first book I have bought for my first grandchild, due to be born next month.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Beaupre on August 18, 2008
Format: Board book Verified Purchase
I love reading this book to my 7 month old. The illustrations are gorgeous for adults to enjoy and whimsical and fun for children to gaze at. Every time we read it, I find something new I hadn't seen before -- it's such an inventive book with a lovely little "storyline" and connections between pages. We'll never get bored with it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By spacecat on July 17, 2006
Format: Board book Verified Purchase
We got this book for our then 9 month old and both my husband and I love reading it to him. We got the board book version since he tends to want to rip regular books. This book has wonderful illustrations and our son (now 13 months) loves looking and pointing at the pictures (and trying to say what they are). And as adults it doesn't tire as quickly as other books since the illustrations are so well done and have many hidden things to find. I just bought another copy of it for a friend of mine who is about to have her first child. I would highly recommend this for babies on up to pre-school....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J.O. on February 7, 2009
Format: Board book
What a wonderful surprise! This book is by far the most original ABC book I've come across. The first thing you observe are the beautiful illustrations, then you notice additional pictures that illustrate the letter on the page and connections between pages, and finally a beautiful story unfolds that becomes more detailed every time you read the book. Amazingly simple and complex at the same time, it's a book that will entertain the youngest through the oldest of readers and grow along with them all. I'll be ordering Alison's other books!
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By DoozerMama on February 1, 2015
Format: Board book Verified Purchase
My 2yo daughter loves this book. I noticed her interest in learning her ABC's and wanted to get her a book for the holidays, but the one I wanted was back ordered. I decided to go with this one and I am so glad I did. The illustrations are awesome. I love how each illustration shows multiple objects that start with the corresponding letter, not just the main image, so as she gets better with the letters we can start finding all the objects in the illustration that also start with the lettet on the page. Another cute, yet subtle addition is how the illustrations continue to make a story, like focusing on different parts of a scenery. For example the hot air balloon for the letter B shows up later in the background on another page. They did a really nice job with this book! Best part is, my daughter picked up the alphabet very quickly (within 2 weeks), and also started picking up on lower case letters (since the book shows both) even though I only focused on learning the upper case ones first. It is currently one of her favorite books.
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By R. Halk on November 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The illustrations are wonderful. Each page has a main image corresponding to the letter, but also many minor examples as well. Cow is the main picture for 'C', but there is also a cat, car, cabbage, etc.

So many of the ABC books on the market today have unusual themes or exotic examples; it was refreshing to find a book with classic examples that every child can identify with.

The running themes and hints as to what is on the next page make it an enjoyable book for Mom and Dad as well.
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