Thursday, October 09, 2008

Review: Cleo's Alphabet Book

Text by Stella Blackstone, illustrations by Caroline Mockford. Barefoot Books, 2003. Board Book edition, 2007. Review copy from the publisher.

I have to say this is one of my all time favorite alphabet books. I love the bright, bold colors, the action, and the charming simplicity of the animal and child characters. The alphabet letters are prominently displayed on each page in Upper and Lower case along with an engaging picture that usually includes Cleo the cat. What I love most about it is that the text alludes to the word that begins with each featured letter but does not specifically state the letter or the sound.

"A" is crunchy,
crisp and red.

"B" floats on the waves.

The picture shows Cleo sniffing you guessed it - a big round apple. (Click the hyperlink to see the book on Google books.) The "B" page shows Cleo on a sailboat on the water. The gap between text and illustration leaves room for the reader/listener to supply the arc of electric thought connecting them. This tension gives listeners a gift and draws us along to complete the circle, bringing meaning to the text. This is what the very best picture books do - inspire creative thought and reward our engagement with pleasure. I think this little book is perfectly on target and completely delightful.

Barefoot books is a publishing company started by two working moms dedicated to bringing children the very best in story, music and art. More Cleo books here.

1 comment:

a Tonggu Momma said...

This is one of the Tongginator's favorites!