QUILT ALPHABET

Rich illustrations and a rhyming text create a puzzle for each letter of the alphabet, inviting a young reader to guess what word the letter might represent. Warm-hearted and generous-spirited paintings provide visual answers. The answers are also found in a key at the end. Objects as American as Apples and Pie are utilized and the theme of Quilts sews it all together. A crazy-quilt pattern decorates the endpapers, each uppercase letter of the alphabet is framed as in the square of a quilt, and many of the illustrations are framed as well. With few exceptions, the objects are tangible, and within the experience of pre-schoolers. The few intangibles (Night, Yellow) are unexpected and therefore more difficult to guess. The oversized format and lush illustrations are strongly appealing; color in all of the paintings is rich and saturated. Painterly brush strokes add depth and elegance to the folksy style. Excellent book design features each letter and text in a way that is easy to see without interfering with the illustrations. The weakest element is the rhyming text. Although the clues are generally good, the rhymes are weakened by cliché. At worst, they suggest advertising copy, as for Apples: “Nature’s handpicked treat / Wholesome goodness to the core.” Some are simply confusing, as the tea Kettle “Captures the cold under its lid / And warms you through and through.” Nonetheless, the graphic appeal is so strong that youngsters in groups or on their own should be drawn to the pictures and to guessing the names of the objects. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2001

ISBN: 0-8234-1453-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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MISS BINDERGARTEN GETS READY FOR KINDERGARTEN

An inviting look at the first day of school in Miss Bindergarten's class. The simple rhyming text tells how the animal children get ready for the big event; as a bonus, the names of the students are listed alphabetically, each first letter corresponding to its animal type (Jessie is a jaguar, Zak is a zebra, etc.): ``Gwen McGunny/packs her bunny./Henry Fetter/fights his sweater.'' The procession is interspersed with the preparations of Miss Bindergarten, aided by her pet cockatoo, in her classroom. Wolff's fine illustrations add texture to a fairly simple concept. The teacher is depicted as an efficient sheepdog; eager and organized, she tapes notes on her furniture reminding her to ``have fun,'' yet forgets to take the price tag off her dress. The use of extinct animals for the more obscure letters only adds to the fun. In this soothing introduction to an anxiety-filled event, Slate (Who Is Coming to Our House?, 1988, etc.) makes the first day a pleasure for everyone involved. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-525-45446-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1996

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