A Isn't for Fox: An Isn't Alphabetby Wendy Ulmer, Laura Knorr
Experts know that sometimes the best way to teach a child what something is is to teach him what it isn't. Educator Wendy Ulmer applies that principle in her jaunty, out-of-the-box alphabet A isn't for Fox: An Isn't Alphabet. Running through the alphabet, beginning readers are given a letter and then told what the letter topic isn't. A isn't for box; it isn't for fox. A is for ants that crawl over your socks. Laura Knorr's colorful, engaging artwork perfectly captures the wit and whimsy behind the alphabet that isn't what it seems but is so much more!
PreS-Gr 1- Alphabet books abound, but playful verse and an inventive concept set this "Isn't Alphabet" apart from more traditional titles. Ulmer tells her listeners what each letter does not stand for before offering a word that begins with the correct sound. "A isn't for box; it isn't for fox/A is for ants that crawl over your socks./B isn't for kite; it isn't for light./B is for bats that fly by in the night." Though the entertaining non-examples show an appreciation for the audience's sense of the silly, Knorr's charming paintings of winking cats, smiling jellyfish, trumpeting lions, and pillow-fighting llamas are worth the purchase price alone. Each letter is presented in upper- and lowercase with an accompanying array of images. Children who are confident in their phonemic prowess will be enticed to identify the appropriate noun pictured with each letter. Artful compositions will invite even younger listeners to linger over each illustration, regardless of the potential lesson. The anthropomorphized images make even the less-familiar creatures in Ulmer's examples ("nuthatch," "Xenops") more accessible. This pleasant work will be at home in most libraries.-Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI
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