Showing posts with label ABC books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ABC books. Show all posts

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Endless Alphabet: fresh & fun book app! (ages 3-7)

Cybils book app finalist Endless Alphabet combines all the great features of picture book apps: interesting content, fun animation, clear narration, and engaging interactive features -- all designed with the kid audience in mind. The result is a real winner for young kids, an app that they'll choose to go back to again and again!
Endless Alphabet
developed by Originator
2013 Cybils finalist
iTunes or Google Play
ages 3 - 7
Combining unique words with clever illustrations, adding silly animated monsters and unforgettable sounds, Endless Alphabet is a book app kids will return to again and again. Filled with words ranging from alarm to hilarious to musician, this is no ordinary alphabet book.

Endless Alphabet

Readers start by dragging letters to spell out the word, reinforcing simple letter-sound associations. Then, they hear how to pronounce the word, learn the meaning of the word, and watch a short, very silly enactment of the word. This fun trailer will give you a sense of the app:

Developed by the same team that brought us Sesame Street's Monster at the End of This Book app, Endless Alphabet is perfectly designed for its age group. Kids can choose whether to move from word to word or to repeat a word as many times as they choose. The app draws kids in at each step, but all the interactive features build on the primary focus of learning vocabulary and letter awareness.

If you like this, you'll also enjoy Originator's newest app: Endless Reader, designed to help kids acquire sight words essential to early reading.

Check out all the 2013 Cybils finalists in the book apps category! Many thanks to Paula Willey of PinkMe for nominating this delightful, wacky must-have app!

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Alphabet Explosion! a fun puzzle ABC book (ages 4 - 8)

Alphabet Explosion!: Search and Count from Alien to Zebra
Kids love puzzles, and will pour over "I Spy" books for hours. We have loved Alphabet Explosion! by John Nickle, and think it's an ABC book that really engages kids - both those just learning their alphabet and older kids who just love picture puzzles. Puzzle books like this are particularly good for boys and kids who might not be drawn to traditional books.
Alphabet Explosion!Search and Count from Alien to Zebra
by John Nickle
NY: Schwartz & Wade / Random House, 2006
ages 4 - 8
available on Amazon and at your local library
Do you love a challenge? On each page, there are a certain number of things that begin with that letter of the alphabet: objects, actions, colors - all using bold, bright illustrations. Just take a look at the cover to get a sense of the whimsical A page: an alligator wears an apron with an atom circling on it, while an alien hovers above shooting a bow and arrow at the ant playing an accordion. On this page alone, there are 22 A words. "And if you find fewer, don't worry," Nickle warns, "it's tricky!" There's an answer key in the back, listing all the words that the Chief Alphabet Expert (aka Nickle) found.

Alphabet Explosion balances obvious answers with tricky ones, creating a search game that will engage kids of all ages. It had us all piled on the bed trying to figure out this fun puzzle!  Hooray for alphabet books that are fun for the whole family to look at.

Would you like to sample some of the pages? Take a look at John Nickle's website to see his paintings from Alphabet Explosion! and test your detective skills!

The review copy came from our local library. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this page, a small portion will go to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you). Thank you for your support!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Animals All Around: pairing amazing books with a set of animal figures (ages 2 - 8)

Children are fascinated by animals. Young children want to learn their names, older children soak up facts and information about each animal. I love pairing great visual books with a set of quality animal figures for children to play with. Here are three of our favorite books.
Creature ABCCreature ABC
by Andrew Zuckerman
SF: Chronicle Books, 2009
ages 2 - 8
available on Amazon and at your local library
Zuckerman has created an amazing ABC book, based on his adult coffee-table book Creature. Animal are photographed in crisp, vivid details, against stark white backgrounds. First, you read just the letter and see one photograph of the animal. Young readers will try to guess the animal name. On the next page, you read the animal name and see another striking photograph of the animal. Throughout, the animals are photographed in striking poses full of movement or placed in interesting compositions focusing on a particular detail. Preschoolers will have trouble holding this thick book on their laps, but they will come back to it again and again. Older children, far beyond typical ABC books, will be fascinated by the photographs. Yes, the facts at the end are a bit random, but in our local library, every single copy is checked out. Here's a sample to take a look at:
Creature ABC
Out of SightOut of Sight
by Francisco Pittau and Bernadette Gervais
SF: Chronicle Books, 2010
ages 3 - 8
available on Amazon and at your local library
This striking book drew my 1st grader and my 4th grader right to it. They loved looking at the clues, guessing the hidden animals and lifting the flaps to read a brief fact. Each page spread uses a different technique to show just a part of the animal: silhouettes, patterns, and cutouts only showing noses and tails. Beneath each flap, there is a clear painting of the animal, and on the inside flap is a brief fact. This is a perfect partner book to share, as it's large enough to fit across two laps. My younger daughter even started to read some of the facts along with her big sister. One criticism does stick: the facts are brief and a bit random. This book would have benefited from added information in the back, perhaps with details about the animals and a map showing where they live. Even so, it will be a big hit in our home and library.

Schleich Set of 6 Wild AnimalsBoth of these books would be great with a set of quality animal figures. We have loved Schleich animals, adding to our collection each year. You can also search for single Schleich animals like a hippo, hedgehog, ostrich or giraffe. Learning Resources also does a set of jumbo animals you might like.

Check out the Nonfiction Monday Blog Roundup at Books Together this week for more great nonfiction reading.

The review copies were kindly sent by the publisher. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion will go to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you). Thank you for your support.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

ABC books with zing! Alphabeasties and Other Amazing Types

We see a lot of books in our house, but occasionally I buy a book that I just have to share with my kids right away.  Alphabeasties: And Other Amazing Types is just that type of book: I just have to show it to you.  My kids have seen a lot of ABC books over the years, but they have poured over this for the past two days.  It grabs my kindergartner's attention and my 3rd grader's attention, it's so witty and clever. 
Alphabeasties: And Other Amazing Types
by Sharon Werner and Sharon Forss
NY: Blue Apple Books, 2009
ages 3 - 12
Alphabeasties: And Other Amazing Typeswas created by graphic designers Sharon Werner and Sarah Forss. Each animal is ingeniously built out of the letter that starts their name, but in multiple typefaces.  What a great way to talk about letters and design, with young children and older ones alike. Can you see the different As on the alligator on the cover?

But open the pages, and more details are on each page.  The camel and dog are crafted out of Cs and Ds respectively, but Werner and Forss go further, creating delightful smaller images using the letters.  Can you see the little cat at the bottom of the C page, her sleeping body shaped by the C?

They also teach us about different fonts. "An uppercase C and lower case c can be copycats.  Some Cs choose to change."  Down below, "Some Ss look similar to the number 5.  These Ss are sans-serif: no feet or other added strokes."

The details on the pages are also creative concrete poetry forms, where the words form shapes that echo their meanings.  On the S page, not only is the sheep created out of Ss, but the shape of scissors is made out of the word scissors.

This book is perfect for preschoolers learning their letters, but it's also wonderful for older children who are interested in design and graphics.  It's a gem.  Truly an ABC book with zing.

I found this at a favorite independent bookstore, Kepler's in Menlo Park.  You can also find it on Amazon.  I'm guessing this has been more popular than the publisher anticpated.  Even though it just came out in July, it's already back-ordered at the publisher.  If you see it, snap it up!

Here are some other ABC books with zing.  See my review from last winter here.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

ABC books with zing!

Superhero ABC, by Bob McLeod
New York : HarperCollins, 2006.
ages 5 - 8

Q is for Duck: an alphabet guessing game, by Mary Elting
New York : Clarion Books, 2005, c1980.
ages 4 - 6

Anamalia, by Graham Base
New York : H.N. Abrams, 1987, c1986.
ages 5 - 8

Little kids love a sense of drama and humor. These alphabet books capture them and let them explore letter sounds and pictures.

Superhero ABC, by Bob McLeod, is a great, visually engaging book for all those action-loving little kids. This book is hard to keep on the shelves of our library, the kids love it so much. And it's not suprising, with such fun images as these: Astro-Man, "Always Alert for an Alien Attack" despite his asthma; Goo Girl, who throws Great Gobs of Goo; and Odor Officer, monitor of, well, body odors. Get this at the Oakland Public Library or the Berkeley Public Library.

Q is for Duck: an alphabet guessing game, by Mary Elting, made my four-year-old giggle and laugh. What better recommendation is there for a book, especially one that is trying to teach you something! With simple, repetitive questions, it works for young kids guessing the puzzles. For example, "Q is for Duck. Why? Because a Duck Quacks" or "I is for Mosquito. Why? Because Mosquito bites Itch." Find this at the Oakland Public Library or the Berkeley Public Library.

Animalia is a fantastically detailed ABC book, perfect for kids who like puzzles & games. Each spread has rich illustrations along a theme, such as Eight Enormous Elephants Expertly Eating Easter Eggs. But throughout the spread are dozens of items beginning with that letter. A funny and intriguing book. Animalia is the inspriration for a new PBS Kids TV series. For more information, see the PBS Animalia site. My kids love the imagination in this new series, aimed at kids ages 6 - 8. This is available at the Oakland Public Library or the Berkeley Public Library.