"Necco Sweethearts" candies form both text and illustration for this multi-level concept book. Barbieri McGrath matches her rhyming lines with cutout replicas of the easily recognizable sweets to teach the letters of the alphabet, simple words, colors, numbers, compound words, and contractions. Familiar sight words are also explored. Pastel pages paint the background for this creative use of a familiar confection. Text for the adult is in black, but after a few sessions, small hands will want to hold the book and read letters and words that are inscribed on the colorful hearts. Along with learning to read, the young audience is led to discover the importance of vowels and the necessity of pairing up with consonants. Altogether, this addition to the library guarantees some tasty times with the beginning reader. 2003, Charlesbridge Publishing, Ages 4 to 6.
K-Gr 1-Rhyming, singsong verses can't disguise this disorganized and, at times, nonsensical text. McGrath moves quickly from subject to subject, discussing sight words, contractions, compounds, and more. However, the format does not allow her to do more than mention the concepts. The long and short vowel "A" is introduced but none of the other vowel sounds are included. Beginning readers will struggle to decipher words such as "consonants" and "apostrophe." The pastel pages are bedecked with NeccoR SweetheartsR candies featuring the words used, but there are no other illustrations. This is just one more example of the sweet nothings offered up to beginning readers these days. Save your reading calories for something better.-Tali Balas, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.