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How to Build an A Hardcover – November 7, 2008


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 2 and up
  • Hardcover: 56 pages
  • Publisher: Artisan; Pck edition (November 7, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579653782
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579653781
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #303,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Offering a hands-on approach to learning the alphabet, this small-format book comes with 11 off-white foam shapes (as well as a mesh storage bag). In the book, miniature, stylized people (and the occasional dog) work together to construct each letter of the alphabet, using rectangular blocks and arcs shaped just like the foam pieces. Playful, irreverent illustrations accompany each letter being constructed: for N is for Nose, two of the tiny people play in and around an elongated, drippy proboscis; with Z, the zebra participates in having his stripes painted on his back. But those interested in building three-dimensional letters, as the title promises, may be disappointed: the pieces dont fit together seamlessly. For example, if kids try to make the letter B following the illustration in the book, the vertical piece isnt long enough to accommodate both of the loops; these have to be overlapped, in which case the loop placed on top tilts sadly toward one end. (Using a set of pieces different from what is shown will solve this problem but not similar ones.) A good idea just shy of realization. Ages 2–up. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Sara Midda is an artist who lives in West Sussex, England, and previously lived in the south of France. Her most recent book is Artisan’s children’s activity book How to Build an A.


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Customer Reviews

It's great way to learn the ABCs.
M. Hudson
The foam pieces are very sturdy & he has not been able to tear & bite through any of them the way he has with other "foamy" products.
T. N. Grilliot
I buy this book for 2 and 3 year olds.
Abby & Baba Julio

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By T. N. Grilliot on December 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
My little boy is obsessed with letters & words plus he's a boy--- so this was the perfect combo for him. The foam pieces are very sturdy & he has not been able to tear & bite through any of them the way he has with other "foamy" products.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie {Binkies and Briefcases} on August 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We bought this as a supplement to Handwriting Without Tears. It is great in terms of using the same lines and curves. I will use the pieces with HWT, but probably disregard the book as an instructional tool. It did keep my 3-year-old's attention for quite a while. We went through the entire book and then she asked to do it again. Ours did not have the strong chemical smell some other reviews mentioned.

I agree that some of the examples are really dumb. X is for Xmas? Really? Plus I did NOT like the illustrations in the lower corner of the left page. They show you the pieces the child needs to make the letter, but the letters are not formed completely. My daughter kept trying to arrange the pieces as was shown in the picture, which was a jumble of the correct pieces or an unfinished letter most of the time. (See how the cover shows "A" as not completely formed? The whole book is like that. It was very confusing for my daughter.)

I was expecting the book to actually teach "How to build an A" and show a correct example, but it leaves the students to make inferences that they are not old enough to make. How is a three year old supposed to know that the example you are showing isn't finished and hers should actually look different?

My child enjoyed the book, and I appreciated that it came with a mesh bag for storing the pieces. Overall, it was just ok. I am going to keep it, mostly for the pieces, but I wouldn't recommend it to a friend. My original intention was to have this set as a resource my daughter could use by herself while I am homeschooling her older brother. I was hoping she could look at an example on the page and build the letter. We won't be able to use it for that purpose.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By a customer on April 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have loved Sara Midda's beautiful and whimsical illustrations for years--this alphabet book is darling, and the idea of the blocks is a good one--except for the horrible smell of the blocks themselves! I took them out of their wrapper and allowed them to air out overnight--no change in the odor--they just smell chemical. I would not want a child to play with them, and I think a kid would notice that they 'smell funny'! I will take them to the local teacher-education store to try to match other foam or wooden blocks so we can use the cute book and build the alphabet, and then out the stinky ones go!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mom with 2 Cuties! on June 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The idea is cute and my kids enjoy working with the letters and reading the book. I don't like the examples used for X and V! For X Midda uses Xmas tree. Really, Xmas tree??? As my young children begin to "read" on their own never in a million years would they say xmas tree. Who uses that word, certainly not kids!?! Next for V Midda picked violet. My kids want to "read" the picture and say flowers, not violet. It is a good introduction to the letters, but not perfect.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By porterplace on May 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I am not an overly religious person, so put that aside. This is a beautiful book and it's really fun and educational to use the pieces to make the letters; that is, until you get to "X". In this book, "X" is for Christmas tree. I was totally let down when I got to this page. Don't get me wrong, I use "xmas" when abreviating for my own personal use, so, again, that is not the point. I am looking at this from an educational standpoint. There are obviously other things that start with the letter x and really, Christmas tree starts with "C." This book left me disappointed and wondering what the author's reasoning was when choosing Christmas tree for "X."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mom of two on January 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I thought this was a blast. My three year old had a good time creating the letters - especially since since she shows an interest in letters, but doesn't have the dexterity yet to really handle a pencil. The reviewer who had to bring religion into his/her review shouldn't have given in fewer stars. It is a bunch of fun. He/she should also know that "X" just happens to be a symbol for Christ - thus the shortening of Christmas to X-mas. Regardless - the book is fun and will keep a kid busy - I would buy it before a plane trip.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Hudson on February 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this for my 3 yr old daughter to help jump start the ABC process. After two times reading the book she started forming the letters using the cutouts on her own. A week later she was at lunch with her mother in restaurant shaping letters out of the crayons and silverware on the table. Our friends were amazed. The illustrations are nicely done. It's great way to learn the ABCs.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. Hutchinson on February 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read about this book in Cookie Magazine and ordered it for my 3 1/2 year old right away. He LOVES it. I'll take out this book once in a while, and he will go through every page and build each letter. The book/blocks come with a little mesh bag so everything stays together. It is very nicely illustrated and easy for a pre-schooler to follow.
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