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Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Alphabet books are a dime a dozen--at least if you can find the crappy ones in the remainder bins at the back of your local Barnes and Noble or thrift store.  Sure, there are some really good ones out there, and I don't devalue their ability to assist an otherwise stubborn toddler's interest in learning the alphabet, but why let someone else do what your kids can already do better?  My favorite alphabet book isn't really an alphabet book at all, but a word book, the Best Word Book Ever in fact (whose vain title reminds a little of Eggers' A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, and whose content is, in its own sphere, equally staggeringly genius), by Richard Scarry, which I grew up with, examined weekly and carefully as a kid sitting in church (at least until I outgrew that particular kids' luxury), and attempted multiple times over the years to replicate.  At once the best kids' dictionary ever and just plain flippin' fun to look at.

I recommend, highly, Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever, not to mention anything else done by the man.

While I don't--or can't, really--recommend any one particular "A Is For..." alphabet book, at least not one that's published, as I mentioned before and if you're dealing with kids, make your own!  Way more fun, the kids get more out of it, and it's something they'll be proud to show off, hang on their wall, and mail to Grandma and Grandpa.  I'm one of my own, in fact and appropriate for the blog, that will be titled, "A Is for Author."  Geeky?  Geeky.  Yes!  And fun!


  1. Eco-themed one:

    "A is for amnesia.... Wait, what's the next letter?" **cymbal crash**

  2. i remember this book!

    "animalia" by graeme base is a great "a is for ---" book. colourful pictures bursting at the seams with items starting with the particular letter of the alphabet. it's a win win book because the drawings are even lovely enough for parents to enjoy. it's one of my favourite kiddo books.

  3. That is a really good one! And, really, there are tons of good alphabet books, but I guess once you've watched Jacob or Rebekah write one of their own, it's all over for the competition. :)

  4. Something about "Anamalia" made me think of this, and that somehow combined with the books we were once allowed to take with us to church: the Where's Waldo people should do an alphabet book.

  5. Eco-themed 2:

    B is for bibliophile, beginning with the voiced labial plosive, rather than the unvoiced, which would otherwise confirm his fears of his past with his nubile assistant.

    (I'm to tired to put that in any kind of iambic meter -- sorry.)

  6. Oh wow. That is something else right there.

    Btw, I fully expect to catch up chapters 3 and 4 tonight. I've been pretty busy the past couple days. I did get a chance to read "The Boarding House" just now, though. Bloody brilliant--I use bloody because my B&N edition says that the use of the word almost caused the book not to be printed at the time. Amazing. Makes it seem more remarkable that "Ulysses" eventually got published at all than that it took so long.

  7. I really liked "The Boarding House." About the same as "Two Gallants," but I'm having a hard time putting together a post for it. Don't know why. I think I'm going to scrap all the notes I've put together on it and start over. My edition has no notations whatsoever. I figured the use of bloody must have caused a stir. Fits the character, though--the bulldog brother.


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