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book review by michelle leichty

Reading alphabet and counting books can become a chore, as children want to hear them over and over, and most are not worth reading more than once. However, these alphabet and counting companion books stand out among the crowded shelves, and deserve to be read over, and over, and over, and... well, you get the picture! Many children’s books grow old after reading it for the 150th time, but not Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault. Children will enjoy listening to the rhyming chant through the letters of the alphabet as the letters scurry up the coconut tree --- and then the hurts and bruises after they fall. Its companion book, Chicka Chicka 1 2 3 is to numbers what Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is to letters, except the numbers all climb 18

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an apple tree. Some children love the wild and dirty side of life; if you count your children among those, then I Stink! and I’m Dirty! are the alphabet and counting books for your family. These books, by Kate and Jim McMullan, are perfect for children who enjoy gross things. I Stink! follows the journey of a garbage truck through the dark streets of New York City --- and through the alphabet. I’m Dirty! follows a back-hoe as he counts the things he clears from a vacant lot. Kate wrote the books, and Jim created the bright, bold illustrations which make her words pop. Delightful, and funny, peas dance across the pages of Keith Baker’s LMNO Peas and 1-2-3 Peas books. In LMNO Peas, the peas participate in all sorts of alphabetically-focused activities like building, climbing, farming, and quilting. Colorful, textured alphabet letters dwarf the peas on each page and the clever contrast between the large, staid letters and the tiny, active peas will capture the attention of children, and adults. In 1-2-3 Peas, the peas embark on counting up to ten, in the midst of many different activities the narrator dictates, like “look” and “row”. Baker includes the numbers, of course, but, unusual for

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counting books, he also spells each number. As an added bonus, the book doesn’t stop at ten. Baker skip counts by tens up to 100, with each two-page spread featuring the exact number of peas singing, building or honking. Each page of both books includes so many details, you will want to take time to study the pictures with the little ones in your life. First published in 1962, Maurice Sendak’s (Where the Wild Things Are) alphabet and counting books are classics deserving space on every nursery shelf. In Alligators All Around, Sendak works his way through the alphabet with a family of alligators and their crazy antics like bursting balloons, juggling jelly beans, and yackety-yacking. One Was Johnny tells the story of Johnny, whose house gets more and more crowded as he counts to 10. Johnny gets so fed up, he tells the animals filling his house, “Here’s what I’ll do - I’ll start counting backwards and when I am through - if this house isn’t empty I’ll eat all of you!” Adults and children alike will enjoy the rhythmic rhyming of this book, as well as the silly story it tells. Generally, I avoid repurposed and repackaged books, not wanting to indulge in the publishing industry’s marketing ploys. I do, however, make an exception for the My First Little House Books from

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Multiplicity Winter 2014  

Multiplicity's Winter issue complete with features including seasonal affective disorder, parenting resolutions, cutting the budget, getting...

Multiplicity Winter 2014  

Multiplicity's Winter issue complete with features including seasonal affective disorder, parenting resolutions, cutting the budget, getting...

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