Letter Perfect: Alphabet Adventure by Audrey Wood
In their delightful Alphabet Adventure Audrey Wood and son Bruce Wood have created the perfect alphabet book. For kids from age 2 and older who have already had some experience with upper-case letter books, this brilliantly illustrated alphabet book features a cadre of creative lower-case letters who easily show themselves the equals of their capital-letter colleagues.
The book begins with the little letters, who have worked all summer to become a good team, being led by their teacher (Big T) to a school where children await their help in learning to read. Suddenly, a mishap along the way results in the tragic loss of little i's dot. Big I's advice that little dots are fond of hiding prompts a harried search all over Alphabet Island. With no luck in locating the original, the little letters spread out to find substitutes for the lost top-dot, including a star from little s, a heart from little h, a cherry from little c, and a ladybug beetle from little b.
Little i chooses the cherry, saying "It's much nicer than my old dot ever was. I don't care if my old dot stays on Alphabet Island." A teeny-tiny, wheeny-whiny voice is heard from the missing dot, (which can be found hiding on every page) "You can't leave me behind." As he jumps back in place, the team soars on their pencil to Charley's classroom just in time to help him learn to write his name.
The computer-generated illustrations by Bruce Wood add whimsy to the story, packing plenty of body language into the letters' shapes. For example, when the little alphabet class gets off-task in the search for the dot, they line up all out of alphabetical order, facing the wrong way, upside down, not standing straight, just like an excited group of Kindergartners might. Other details in the Venetian setting give the adult reader and the child plenty to look for. Big W watches at a window while O is outside; dd stand at a double door; little f floats in the canal; and little c climbs a ladder. Meanwhile, two little s's go down a slide while a big A (adult) supervises! The objects which the little letters choose for little i's dot can also be spied in the previous pages' illustrations--for example, a jack-o-lantern for little j and an umbrella for little u. The biggest visual challenge, however, is spying the missing red top-dot hidden in each spread.
This book is a creative tour de force and a joy to explore with a child. My two-year-old grandson mastered the lower-case letters quickly as he listened to this story over and over. As a bonus, it's a blast for the adult reader (something like teasing out the meaning of vanity license plantes) to decipher what the letters are up to in the intriguing illustrations. Alphabet Adventure is a W for Winner!
Labels: Alphabet Books (Ages 2-8)