Friday, September 24, 2010

LMNO Peas review


I loved this fresh take on alphabet books. With a gently bouncy rhyme, we see little green peas, paired with letters of the alphabet, busily doing everything under the sun. Baker imbues these little green circles with so much personality and optimism, it makes for an amazing read. Their small size in comparison to the large, pastel letters and the creative way that they use the shape of each letter (For example, "underwater divers" splash in the center of the "U" shape and "campers" pitch their tent in the bottom curve of the letter "C") is certain to boost letter knowledge in young readers. Effective use of white space keeps the busyness of each page from getting too overwhelming.

For me, the true test of any alphabet book is the treatment of the often-difficult letter X. Here, "x-ray doctors" examine a gigantic green "X" with bones faintly apparent. There is so much to hunt and find on each page. The illustration of a group of yogis depicts some blissfully stretching peas, with one pea towards the back, struggling to get into the pose. There's a terrific flow from page to page as well, when you see one of the "bikers" from the B page, biking past "drivers" on the D page, followed by the same biker zipping through the finish line run by "flaggers" on the page for F. Later, "readers" from page R relax with their books by the seashore for page S.

My favorite little Easter egg in this book is the ladybug hidden on every spread. She pops up in a ball of yarn, behind a leaf, inside a sandcastle, on the judge's scale. Really fun! The rhyme is inventive and invites to be read aloud, "We're painters, poets, and plumbers fixing leaks/We're pilots, parachutists, we're peas and... we're unique!" This book would work well at storytime, but might be even more appreciated reading one-on-one, when youngsters would have the chance to pore over the artwork for themselves.

I borrowed this book from the library.

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