Saturday, September 26, 2009

ABC books with zing! Alphabeasties and Other Amazing Types

We see a lot of books in our house, but occasionally I buy a book that I just have to share with my kids right away.  Alphabeasties: And Other Amazing Types is just that type of book: I just have to show it to you.  My kids have seen a lot of ABC books over the years, but they have poured over this for the past two days.  It grabs my kindergartner's attention and my 3rd grader's attention, it's so witty and clever. 
Alphabeasties: And Other Amazing Types
by Sharon Werner and Sharon Forss
NY: Blue Apple Books, 2009
ages 3 - 12
Alphabeasties: And Other Amazing Typeswas created by graphic designers Sharon Werner and Sarah Forss. Each animal is ingeniously built out of the letter that starts their name, but in multiple typefaces.  What a great way to talk about letters and design, with young children and older ones alike. Can you see the different As on the alligator on the cover?

But open the pages, and more details are on each page.  The camel and dog are crafted out of Cs and Ds respectively, but Werner and Forss go further, creating delightful smaller images using the letters.  Can you see the little cat at the bottom of the C page, her sleeping body shaped by the C?

They also teach us about different fonts. "An uppercase C and lower case c can be copycats.  Some Cs choose to change."  Down below, "Some Ss look similar to the number 5.  These Ss are sans-serif: no feet or other added strokes."

The details on the pages are also creative concrete poetry forms, where the words form shapes that echo their meanings.  On the S page, not only is the sheep created out of Ss, but the shape of scissors is made out of the word scissors.

This book is perfect for preschoolers learning their letters, but it's also wonderful for older children who are interested in design and graphics.  It's a gem.  Truly an ABC book with zing.

I found this at a favorite independent bookstore, Kepler's in Menlo Park.  You can also find it on Amazon.  I'm guessing this has been more popular than the publisher anticpated.  Even though it just came out in July, it's already back-ordered at the publisher.  If you see it, snap it up!

Here are some other ABC books with zing.  See my review from last winter here.

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