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#1 2010-09-20 13:47:35

RDGardner
Moderator
From: West Lindsey
Registered: 2007-04-10

Little Troubleblossom Asks...

Can anyone recommend a really good alphabet book? The ones we've got at the moment are very disappointing, using upper-case instead of lower-case letters, and/or featuring things which are too complicated to illustrate and words which don't start with the sound that the letter being illustrated actually makes. Pickleblossom loves spotting the pictures of things she knows in her big ABC book, but the choices of things, really... 'ant' and 'apple' under 'a' are fine, but 'astronaut' is really a bit challenging, 'asleep', illustrated by a picture of a child in a bed, is downright unhelpful, and 'angel' is just plain wrong; you cannot say 'a is for angel' using the phonetic sound and make any kind of sense.

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#2 2010-09-20 16:29:35

Catherine Edmunds
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From: North East England
Registered: 2007-04-04
Website

Re: Little Troubleblossom Asks...

Oh. I've just finished illustrating an A-Z book, but it's ENTIRELY unsuitable for anyone under eighteen (years) so that's no good.

See what you mean about 'asleep' and 'angel'. Singularly useless.

I don't remember my kids having any good alphabet books, but there must be some about. Surely.

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#3 2010-09-21 07:19:28

Kay Green
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From: Hastings, UK
Registered: 2007-04-03
Website

Re: Little Troubleblossom Asks...

I'm not sure if there ever have been any good alphabet books. From a modern educationalist's point of view they are intrinsically flawed because English simply is not a phonetically scripted language. (Actually, I probably shouldn't say 'modern' there as the powers that be have now gone back to phonetic teaching, haven't they? Do they use alphabet books in schools?)

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#4 2010-09-21 09:05:39

RDGardner
Moderator
From: West Lindsey
Registered: 2007-04-10

Re: Little Troubleblossom Asks...

There probably weren't any around when I was little, as I remember my parents making me a scrapbook with a page for each letter, in which they stuck pictures cut from magazines.

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#5 2010-10-01 14:33:19

RDGardner
Moderator
From: West Lindsey
Registered: 2007-04-10

Re: Little Troubleblossom Asks...

I've just picked up rather a nice-looking one as part of a Buy One, Get One Free offer from Wasterisks (I know, I know, but I've just lost half my job...). It's by Giles Andreae and David Wojtowycz (try ordering that on the phone, I challenge you) and called ABC Animal Rhymes for You and Me (Orchard Books, 2010). Every letter is shown in both upper and lower case, which is at least an improvement, and there's a humorous picture of and a rhyme about an animal beginning with each letter. I could cheerfully deck the authors for choosing 'angelfish' for 'a' (what was wrong with 'anteater', or 'angler fish', come to that?), but the others are all satisfactory to impressive. I'd never heard of the Umbrella Bird myself, but apparently

My head has a crest of black feathers,
So when I look up at the sky
And see that it's raining,
Instead of complaining,
I just spread them out and keep dry!

Last edited by RDGardner (2010-10-01 14:34:16)

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#6 2010-10-03 21:20:09

RDGardner
Moderator
From: West Lindsey
Registered: 2007-04-10

Re: Little Troubleblossom Asks...

All right, I take it back: g has no business to be for giraffe, either! Scissors and Prittstick, here I come...

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#7 2010-10-04 12:21:55

Kay Green
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From: Hastings, UK
Registered: 2007-04-03
Website

Re: Little Troubleblossom Asks...

I don't get all this at all. The English alphabet isn't phonetic. 'g' can be the hard sound of giraffe, the softer sound of garage (either of them in fact) or a silent modifier combined with an 'h'. If you try to teach the alphabet as though (like that) it were phonetic, you're not teaching it as it is used. That's why a lot of literacy teachers say there's no such thing as a 'good alphabet book'.

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#8 2010-10-04 12:46:03

RDGardner
Moderator
From: West Lindsey
Registered: 2007-04-10

Re: Little Troubleblossom Asks...

Sigh... I suppose the way I learned my letters is two generations out of date, now.

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#9 2010-10-04 13:46:44

Kay Green
Admin
From: Hastings, UK
Registered: 2007-04-03
Website

Re: Little Troubleblossom Asks...

That's always true of all parents but if the parent and the kid both like books, we seem to survive. (To the rest of the world: we're now on page 952 of the great 'methods of learning to read' debate on at least two other forums!)

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#10 2010-11-04 07:52:38

RDGardner
Moderator
From: West Lindsey
Registered: 2007-04-10

Re: Little Troubleblossom Asks...

Found another one we like, now: 'Alphabet Ice Cream' by Nick Sharratt and Sue Heap, Puffin Books. The Nick-and-Sue partnership turns out excellent picture books on a production line (I'd love to know whether the boy called Nick and girl called Sue who appear in a lot of them really do bear any resemblance to the authors). This alphabet book rhymes, starting with 'a is for apple, b is for bat, c is for crocodile, camel and cat'; these last being shown in the bucket of the digger which features on the 'd' page. The main part of each picture shows Nick or Sue demonstrating the thing mentioned - driving the digger, flying the kite, dressing up as a Viking - while at least one other thing beginning with that letter can be seen in the background, and they're almost all sensible things that the child is likely to come across every day. It takes an entirely novel approach to 'x' - the 'w' and 'x' pages have 'the next letter's w, whale starts with this, and walrus and wellingtons... x can mean kiss' with a picture of two whales kissing, but if you want a more traditional approach, there's a little x-ray fish swimming around underneath them. This one is definitely Little Troubleblossom's favourite.

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#11 2011-07-28 15:43:01

RDGardner
Moderator
From: West Lindsey
Registered: 2007-04-10

Re: Little Troubleblossom Asks...

Does anyone know of any good picture books about going to the dentist? I asked at our local library, and they came up with 'Topsy and Tim Go To The Dentist', which no doubt has its merits, but is too advanced for a 28-month-old, and 'A Day in the Life of Pradeep the Dentist' (Monica Hughes, 2002, Heinemann Little Nippers), which is the one we ended up with. Little Troubleblossom is very taken with Pradeep the Dentist, which has big photographic spreads of Pradeep going through his day from breakfast to bedtime, and fortuitously shows a surgery not unlike the one we actually go to (though she was slightly disappointed when the real man in the white coat didn't also have a turban and a big beard), but I'd be interested to know if anyone can recommend a book with a bit more about actual teeth in!

Last edited by RDGardner (2011-07-29 10:13:45)

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