K-Gr 3-Expressive photographs of 26 children expand the pages of this alphabet/name book. The pictures capture the youngsters in natural moments to reveal the soul and spark within; short, first-person paragraphs about them and their names are printed in small type underneath. The names range from the familiar to the unusual; the excerpts mention their origin and meaning when applicable. Comments related to the photographs are also included. Under Gabe, who's shown smelling a rose, the text reads, "White flowers smell like hand lotion." As an alphabet book, this title is one of many, but as a first look at the significance of names, it is intriguing and compelling. In its succinct simplicity, it invites questions and imaginative explorations.-Martha Topol, Traverse Area District Library, Traverse City, MI
Full-page color photographs of individual girls and boys make up an alphabet of names, from Ariel (whose name means "lion" in Hebrew) to Zoe (whose name means "life" in Greek). Each portrait is captioned with a few sentences in the child's own voice about what the name means, where it came from in the family, what the child likes to do. The photos show happy, active kids from all kinds of backgrounds. For example, there's Diego (named after the Mexican painter Diego Rivera) and Eva (who drives fast in her wheelchair) and Orit (whose family is from Ethiopia) and Preston (who'd rather be called Toby). The diversity is unforced, just a natural view of who we are in all our individuality and connections, all our moods and interests. The names are fascinating, and so are the faces.