Category: alphabet

Book Recommendation: “An Environmental Guide from A to Z” (Tim Magner)

By , November 16, 2010 3:08 pm

There are a lot of junky books out there, but every now and then, an unknown gem comes my way and makes me very thankful that I get to review books on occasion!  An Environmental Guide from A to Z is just such a book.

Typical A-B-C- books are usually geared towards babies and toddlers and often leave older readers and adults cold.  This book is a happy exception.

Picture an A-B-C book for older children with each letter representing an environmental or nature-related concept or important person.  Each word is fully explained in easy to understand terms and is beautifully illustrated by Aubri Vincent-Barwood.  “D is for Darwin,” “F is for Fossil Fuels, ”  “I is for the Inuit Eskimos,”  “R is for Reduce and Reuse.”

Each letter also has a “Did you know?” section with an interesting fact or two related to the topic.  For example, in the “B is for Bees and Insects” section:  “A bee’s buzz comes from their wings flapping 200 times per second!”

I even learned a few things:  “Q is for Vo Quy,” “L is for Paolo Lugari” (read the book for more information) or “the average ‘piece of food’ travels 1,500 miles before it reaches your mouth….”  How about:  “with solar panels, Germany has nearly cut their use of coal in half” and “Denmark gets more than 20% of its electrical power from wind farms.”  I love it when I find a well-written childrens’ book that actually also teaches me a thing or two.

Perhaps my favorite part of the book is that it doesn’t just limit itself to teaching facts, ideas and concepts, but it also asks questions encouraging children to think about their own lives.  Each letter has at least one little oak leaf with questions on it, or sometimes activity ideas.  “What’s the biggest tree in your neighborhood?  How old is it?”  Many of these questions will encourage kids to get outside:  “Watching the animals in your neighborhood, can you see how they are built to survive?”

If you are looking for an informative and interesting book that teaches about the environment and “green living”  without being preachy, then I encourage you to take a look at An Environmental Guide from A to Z Many thanks to Tim for sending me a copy.  This is a review copy that will remain on our shelf to be enjoyed for a long time to come.

I Spy An Alphabet In Art (Lucy Micklethwait)

By , November 14, 2007 9:42 pm

Amazon.com, in its review, calls this book “the most cultured alphabet book around.” Play the game “I spy with my little eye” …with art!

Each page is a different famous painting and the reader is asked to find an object in the painting beginning with a letter of the alphabet. A fun way to learn the alphabet and gain some art-familiarity too.

My 5 year-old “find-it” book fan found this at our local library and he loved it so much that we had to buy a copy to keep. In the same theme Lucy Micklethwait also wrote I Spy Shapes in Art and I Spy Animals in Art. We have since acquired these, and they are equally as fun.

The find-its are not terribly challenging and children quickly learn where to find the object mentioned for each painting, but opportunities are limitless for finding other objects that you designate. Also, my kids just like looking at the paintings and pointing out details.

If you want an “educational” find-it book, then give one of these a try.

Alphabet City (Stephen T. Johnson)

By , June 20, 2007 8:37 pm

This is a find-it alphabet book with a twist. The challenge is to find each letter of the alphabet in very realistic paintings of scenes of city-life (New York City is the inspiration). Some letters are very obvious, others not so easy.

I did an experiment, and upon opening the book randomly, the letters were hidden well enough that I couldn’t always figure out what I should be looking for. But if I went through the book in order so that I KNEW what was supposed to come next, it was easy (for me as an adult), but often quite cleverly disguised.

This is a really fun book for pre-readers (no words, just letters to search for) and readers alike. It is a great travel book, or one to keep in the car. It really makes both kids and adults learn to look at everyday objects with new eyes.

The artwork is truly amazing and each page is a pleasure to look at. No wonder it is a Caldecott Honor Book!

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