Alphathoughts: Alphabet Poems from A to Z

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Celebrated poet and anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins takes a fresh look at the alphabet in this bright and bold book of verse, illustrated with graphic flair by Marla Baggetta. Twenty-six spare yet playful poems offer amusing definitions of words--E for elevator, H for handkerchief, N for nachos--that begin with each letter of the alphabet. For an extra surprise, each poem contains an additional word that start with the same letter--perfect for young readers to discover. This happy collection of original verse ...
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Overview


Celebrated poet and anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins takes a fresh look at the alphabet in this bright and bold book of verse, illustrated with graphic flair by Marla Baggetta. Twenty-six spare yet playful poems offer amusing definitions of words--E for elevator, H for handkerchief, N for nachos--that begin with each letter of the alphabet. For an extra surprise, each poem contains an additional word that start with the same letter--perfect for young readers to discover. This happy collection of original verse delivers a delightful surprise on every page.

Short verselike definitions of words from A to Z. Poems include a word or words that begin with the letter featured.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Like the familiar poems that begin with each letter of a word (M is for the many things you taught me, etc.), Hopkins's (Been to Yesterdays) prosaic picture book offers paeans alongside each letter of the alphabet. The title is apt these entries read like a series of jotted notes. Usually the phrase representing each letter is descriptive or offers a definition (for R, the term Reunion is A coming together to remember memories); many strain for effect. Neither the text nor Baggetta's graphic, full-bleed art breaks new ground. Accompanying C for Custodian (Keeper of clean), for example, Baggetta shows a faceless custodian mopping a school floor. Occasionally, the visuals go beyond the obvious. A bowl of N for Nachos (A crunch of culture within one nibble) nestles among hills that resemble tomatoes. Many entries and illustrations seem designed for the classroom: B for Books (Pages and pages of bound forevers) features children perched like birds in a book tree; for T for Teacher (One who touches your all-tomorrows), a teacher holding a slate poses with smiling multiracial faces around her. (There's also L for Library, P for Pencil and more). Unfortunately, few of these alphathoughts prove stimulating. Ages 6-8. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
In a world of alphabet books, it takes something special to make one stand out. Hopkins has undertaken just that in this eclectic gathering of short poems that run from A to Z. Each poem begins with a word representing the letter in the alphabet and, within the short stanza that follows, there are one or more words that also start with the same letter. This may not be obvious upon first reading a couple of the poems, but then it becomes clearer. New readers will be challenged by the vocabulary and the task of finding the additional words. The illustrations are big and bold and add to the fun. 2003, Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press,
— Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal
Gr 2-6-This quiet and lovely picture book is more a celebration of simplicity than an alphabet book, but the alphabet is used for structure as Hopkins defines 26 things he finds interesting. Beginning with the alphabet itself, for A, these brief poems are really fragments of sentences that are poetically arranged, and could just as well be called riddles. Some are exquisitely simple, such as "Dogs": "With/wagging tails/they/breed/a more/delightful/world." A few are a bit more complex. "Ornithologists": "Teachers/of/ flights/and/tweets/and/reasons/for/putting/out/suet." All are evocative. The colorful, dreamy illustrations complement the selections, which sometimes fit right into the picture. The youngest readers, using this as an alphabet book, will enjoy looking for the one or two other words on each page that share the letter of the poem title. Teachers may want to use this book with older students in creative writing classes. Like haiku, Hopkins's poetry says a lot in just a few words.-Susan Oliver, Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library System, FL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Hopkins paves the way for children to think about the alphabet (and perhaps poetry as well), by offering one word for each letter and then a short, non-rhyming poem of definition that includes at least one more word also beginning with the letter. ("Pencils: Magical implements waiting for stories, poems . . . to pop out from head to lead.") Some of the choices are obvious ("dogs" for D, "teacher" for T), while others will be more challenging for most children ("ornithologist" for O). A few of the poems are so short that they are really more of a poetic definition rather than an actual poem, but others are memorable and will likely show up in anthologies later. Baggetta’s vibrant paintings use a palette of glowing neon colors and lots of motion to add to the volume’s appeal. Her bright illustrations fill the pages, with the alphabet letter and featured word overprinted in bright shades and the related poem thoughtfully placed in a cloud, on a grassy hill, or spread across a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich. Likely to be a popular choice for teachers to use in the classroom. (Poetry. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781563979798
  • Publisher: Highlights Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2003
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 6 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author


Lee Bennett Hopkins is the author of Been to Yesterdays: Poems of a Life, and winner of the Christopher Medal. He lives in Westchester County, New York.

Marla Baggetta is a fine artist and freelance illustrator whose work has appeared in art galleries, books, advertising, and magazines. She lives in Linn, Oregon.

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