ABCS OF BALLS by Nina Snyder


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A simple alphabet book that explores balls from around the world—and a few other round objects, as well.

Using minimal text and stock photos from Getty Images, Snyder (Good Day, Broncos, 2014) has created an abstemious alphabet book. Each page features a capital letter in the upper-left or upper-right corner, in aqua, red, or dark gray. The book’s only words are the names of the balls (in colors that match the letters) and a brief activity section after the final ball. Over its course, the book uses 25 types of balls, the planet Earth, and a marble to populate the alphabet (“B” gets both “baseball” and “basketball”). Three of the 25 use descriptions in order to fit the alphabet paradigm (“quick ball,” “unhappy ball,” and “eXtra small ball”). The remaining 22 are predominantly sports balls, save for “disco ball,” “hamster ball,” “origami ball,” “yarn ball,” and “zoo ball.” The stock photos come in a range of sizes and vary from the cartoonish to the realistic. All are shown on a plain, white background; some include shadows, some don’t, and others have partial, cropped shadowing. Most of the words helpfully include the initial sound (phoneme) for the letter, which will allow young children to begin to associate the letter’s sound with its symbol. (Both “cricket ball” and “golf ball,” provide only the hard versions of multisound consonants C and G.) However, much of the allure of simple alphabet books lies in their illustrations, and the stark images here are unsatisfactory. Likewise, the small letters in the pages’ corners don’t effectively reinforce the images’ connections to the alphabet. In a book as spare as this one, the sole use of the text seems to be to introduce the alphabetic principle, but this simple listing of balls doesn’t approach the level of engagement of other, similar books.

A plain alphabet picture book that drops the ball.

Pub Date: Jan. 25th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0692245286
Page count: 30pp
Publisher: PenDragon Press
Program: Kirkus Indie
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