For example, “F is for Fish” shows a boy catching a fish: The letter F is at the top of the page, and in a circle underneath is the hand sign with the simple sentence printed across the bottom. Most of the letter choices are common, with a few that are less so: J for Juggle; R for Robot; V for Vegetables; Y for Yo-yo. A one-page pictograph of all of the signs finishes the book. It all seems innocuous enough, but the total de-contextualization of the manual alphabet and sign language in general is breathtakingly irresponsible. The introduction, which is directed to child readers, entices children into the activity by promoting sign-language finger spelling as "your own secret language." "Imagine… spelling something to your brother or sister that your parents don't understand. You can—with sign language!" Nowhere is there a reference to American Sign Language as a major communication system for people who are deaf or any encouragement to use this skill with them.
Other books do it better (with sensitivity): Handsigns, by Kathleen Fain (1993), and The Handmade Alphabet, by Laura Rankin (1991). (Picture book. 5-8)