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I'm a divorced mom of 3 gluten-free daughters, devoted to finding time to read.

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Bentos for A Gaggle of Girls
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No boring ABC books please!

These are 4 lovely ABC books that entertained all three children (3, 6, 8 ), and the designated reader. That’s a bit of a challenge, as certain older children think that ABC books are babyish. One of these books has now been read 4 nights in succession. That’s a big kudo to any book, but an ABC book that all 3 kids clamber to read? That’s cool.

First, a classic. Is there anyone out there who doesn’t love Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault, illustrated by Lois Ehlert? This is a well loved story that has amused children and adults since 1989 – the storyline and illustrations are so vivid and enthusiastic, I think it will be loved for many more years. If you haven’t had a chance to read this one, the lowercase letters climb up the coconut tree – “chicka chicka boom boom, will there be enough room?” The coconut tree becomes too heavy with all 26 letters up there, and they fall down, getting hurt and tangled as their (uppercase letter) parents come to help them. “Next from the pileup skinned-knee D and stubbed-toe E and patched-up F. Then comes G all out of breath.” Of course, at the end of the story, “A is out of bed” daring the other letters to go back up the coconut tree! The rhythm of the writing and the bright colors make a perennial favorite.

A different twist on the ABC book is B Is for Bulldozer: A Construction ABC by June Sobel, illustrated by Melissa Iwai. The story greets you “Do you see the Asphalt for paving the road, or the big shiny Bulldozer pushing a load?” The story continues with the construction of something as children watch on the sides of the illustrations, waiting to see what is built – “The welders won’t Quit till the metal is bent, and the new safety Rails are placed in cement.” Finally, “Now Visitors enter – it’s opening day!” You have watched the construction crew build “Wonderland” – a new amusement park, all while having letters stand out from the words, yet telling a story. My kids (3, 6, 8 ) and I were all just as excited as the children in the book to see the go “Z oom!!!” down the newly built rollercoaster!

We were so amused to see the title of AlphaOops!: The Day Z Went First, by Alethea Kontis, illustrated by Bob Kolar. The book begins with the traditional “A is for app-”, but Z is tired of being last, so he insists on going first. Things become more chaotic when P, N, and M complain that they are always stuck in the middle, even if they start with Z. So the letters just jump with what words they are associated with, as the little character at the bottom of the page fills in the ABC chart so you know which letters have spoken. The little “discussions” between the letters are hilarious. This was a really funny read, and we all laughed quite a bit.

Our favorite ABC book, though is now SuperHero ABC by Bob McLeod. We all love superheroes here, and in this book there is a superhero for each letter! It is illustrated like a comic book, with fun asides about each superhero. We love everyone, from: “Astro-man is Always Alert for An Alien Attack” to “The Firefly Fights Felons in the Forest” and “Jumping Jack Just Jails Jaywalkers”. Each letter is also shown at the corner of the page in capitol and lower case, so there is the alphabet reinforcement, but the book is also just fun on its own. As a warning, there are some rather icky superheroes: emetophobes should really avoid the letter V.

Overall, these are four really fun ABC books that are fun stories rather than the traditional “A is for Apple, B is for balloon” type books. These books were fun for all three kids (3, 6, 8 ) and several readers. They were also fun for the kids to look through on their own, enjoying the images.

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