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1. #646 – Alphabetabum: An Album of Rare Photographs and Medium Verses by Chris Raschka & Vladimir Radunsky

Alphabetabumx

Alphabetabum: An Album of Rare Photographs and Medium Verses

written by Chris Raschka
Photography collection by Vladimir Radunsky
New York Review Children’s Collection        10/01/2014
978-1-59017-817-1
Age 4 to 7        80 pages
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“An ALPHABET book?
“An ALBUM of old photos?
“We named it ALPHABETABUM.

“Here celebrated artist and author Vladimir Radunsky and Chris Raschka put a delightful new old-fashioned spin on the alphabet book. Radunsky has selected portraits off children from is spectacular collection of antique black-and-white photographs. Raschka has given the children names and written deliciously teasing rhymes about them. The result is ALPHABETABUM, a book of letters and pictures to which readers will happily return to again and again both to look and to learn.”

Opening

[A picture of a young girl in a short dress with a sash.]

                   “Aa
Awkward Agnes Alexandra
Shows her ample ankles
Although her knees are grander.”

Review

Vladimir Radunsky writes, “If these photos were taken in the late-nineteenth or early-twentieth centuries, then the children in them could have been our great-great-great grandparents! So we have an extraordinary chance to see what our great-great-great grandparents looked when they were children.”

There are 26 photographs of children of varying ages in Alphabetabum; the first original book from New York Review Children’s Collection (all others are reprinted classics). I looked closely at the eyes after reading Radunsky’s thoughts that one of these could be a great-great-great-grandparent, aunt, or uncle. I have never seen any pictures of my parents as children, so seeing what they might have worn captivated my attention as well.

alphabetabumworkaround.indd

Some of the portraits are comical, like young Baby Beulah Bridget who wears a huge white bow upon her tiny head. The bow is too big for her small head and looks to topple at any moment. From the clothing, it is obvious these children are from all over the world. One young boy, named Quiet Quentin Quint, wears long white pants under a black pair of knickers with an ornate jacket and cummerbund. Atop his head is a stocking cap (today, we call these skullcaps) and leans on a cricket bat. Quentin is a serious child.

The photographs in Alphabetabum range from the casual to the formal, though it would not have been a casual friend taking the casual picture. In all cases, the person behind, or next to, the lens would have been a professional photographer. Photographs back then took quite a while to develop and many people had to hold that smile for several minutes. In today’s instant world, I wonder if such portraits are possible.alphabetabumworkaround.indd

Alphabetabum is an interesting and quite curious ABC book. It is really more for older kids and adults, not the young child trying to learn their ABC’s, though it could be done. These ABC’s are for those who love poetry, old photographs, and funny verses that try to define the child based on their clothing, they way they pose, and maybe a smile or lack thereof. The names are all alliterated and interesting. I like Alphabetabum because of it’s quirkiness and because I love old photos and photography. I don’t think you need to have those interests to find Alphabetabum worth your time. Alphabetabum will become endearing, leading you to want to share this unusual ABC picture book.

ALPHABETABUM: AN ALBUM OF RARE PHOTOGRAPHS AND MEDIUM VERSES. Text copyright © 2014 by Chris Raschka. Photographs copyright © 2014 by Vladimir Radunsky. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, New York Review Children’s Collection, New York, NY.
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Buy Alphabetabum at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryNew York Review of Booksyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Alphabetabum HERE

Meet the author, Chris Raschka, at his twitter:   https://twitter.com/ChrisRaschka

Meet the photography collector, Vladimir Radunsky, at his website:    http://www.vladimirradunsky.com/

Find classic children’s books at the New York Review Children’s Collection website:  http://www.nybooks.com/books/imprints/childrens/

The New York Review Children’s Collection is an imprint of New York Review of Books.   http://www.nybooks.com/

Also by Chris Raschka

If You Were a Dog

If You Were a Dog

Whaley Whale (Thingy Things)

Whaley Whale (Thingy Things)

Give and Take

Give and Take

 

 

 

 

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Also by Vladimir Radunsky

Advice to Little Girls

Advice to Little Girls

Hip Hop Dog

Hip Hop Dog

On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein

On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein

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Review HERE

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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Historical Fiction, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Picture Book, Poetry Tagged: ABC Book, alliteration, children's book reviews, Chris Raschka, classic photographs from early 20th century, formal portraits of children from long ago, New York Review Children’s Collection, New York Review of Books, poetry, Vladimir Radunsky

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2. Backseat A-B-See by Maria van Lieshout

Backseat A-B-See is now available in BOARD BOOK and an absolute MUST for all little travelers! All my kids learned to read their first words from the backseat of a car, which is exactly why I am so excited and pleased with Maria van Lieshout's new book, Backseat A-B-See. van Lieshout does a wonderful job from A to Z, from the images to the layout to the signs she discovered to go with

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3. Take Away the A



Take Away the A
by Michaël Escoffier (author of Brief Thief, Me First! and The Day I Lost My Superpowers)
illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo
Enchanted Lion Books, due out September 12, 2014
review copy provided by the publisher


You will want this book. I guarantee it.

Best. Alphabet Book. Ever.

This is the kind of mentor text that makes you want to try writing this way...right NOW.

Here's a taste:

"Without the A
the BEAST is BEST.

Without the B
the BRIDE goes for a RIDE.

Without the C
the CHAIR has HAIR."

See what I mean?

I wish you could actually see the book, because the other part of the fun is finding the duck, the mice, the octopus, the monkey, and the cats in spreads other than their own throughout the book.

Need a quote for a slide in your word study/vocabulary presentation? From the press release:
"Since we are really only able to think about the world, ourselves, and the nature of life itself (along with everything else) within the vocabulary that is available to us, the richer and more nuanced our language is, the richer our possibilities for thinking and understanding become. From this point of view, the ethical, political, cultural and intellectual imperatives for deepening a child's sense of language and its possibilities are profound. Giving them the idea that language is a vital material with which they can make and build and shape their world is so clearly of vital importance."

What are you waiting for?

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4. Alphablock by Chrisopher Franceschelli, art by Peskimo

<!-- START INTERCHANGE - ALPHABLOCK -->if(!window.igic__){window.igic__={};var d=document;var s=d.createElement("script");s.src="http://iangilman.com/interchange/js/widget.js";d.body.appendChild(s);} <!-- END INTERCHANGE --> ALPHABLOCK, by Christopher Franceschelli with art by Peskimo is such a fantastic book it almost makes me want to have one more kid so that I can have the pleasure of

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5. Backseat A-B-See by Maria van Lieshout

All my kids learned to read their first words from the backseat of a car, which is exactly why I am so excited and pleased with Marie van Lieshout's new book, Backseat A-B-See. van Lieshout does a wonderful job from A to Z, from the images to the layout to the signs she discovered to go with every letter of the alphabet and Chronicle Books has done a fantastic job with the production of 

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6. It’s an Absolutely Perfect Day For . . . by Queenie Mac

A to Z Challenge Day 17: Q .  4.75 Queenie Mac’s new picture book is called It’s an Absolutely Perfect Day For . . .   (back cover):  It’s an Absolutely Perfect Day For . . . is a fanciful frolic through the alphabetical animal kingdom with alliterations galore and the whimsical illustrations from each and [...]

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7. Z is For Moose

Z is For Moose
by Kelly Bingham
illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky
Greenwillow Books, 2012
review copy provided by the publisher

Zebra is putting on a production of the alphabet. Everything is going just fine ("A is for Apple/B is for Ball/C is for Cat") when suddenly Moose breaks in -- "D is for Moose." Moose keeps asking if it's his turn through E, F, G, H, I, J, and K. Anticipation builds on L, and then...

"M is for Mouse."

Moose goes ballistic, completely wrecking the set for N, O, P, and Q. Just like Melanie Watt's Chester, Moose takes his red crayon to R and S, and then Zebra protects T-Y with his life.

Good ol' Zebra finds a way to include Moose in the end!

I loved this book immediately and shared it with my students when the F&Gs came a few months ago. When I got my Horn Book Magazine this week, I was pleased to receive a confirmation of my opinion. The book received a starred review from Horn Book!


2 Comments on Z is For Moose, last added: 3/1/2012
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8. 2 GREAT NEW ABC BOOKS


I love unique ABC books and I recently found two that I can't wait to share with kids!


Caveman, A B.C. StoryCAVEMAN ABC STORY by Janee Trasler is a fun story about a Caveman and his pet(s). It begins with the letter A, when the Caveman and his pet Squirrel find an "ACORN". But the word on the 2nd page is "BEAR" and you know what that means. The author takes us through the letters of the alphabet, using one word for each letter, to tell us a story of the caveman.  First of all, this is a fun, unique ABC book in that it tells a complete story with only one word per letter/page.  APPLE PIE ABC was similar in format, but relied on phrases rather than single words to tell the story.  (It would be fun to pair these two.) Not only is CAVEMAN ABC STORY a fun concept, but the illustrations are colorful and fun. This is definitely a book that kids will want to pick up.  And it is a great book for new readers--it will support picture reading, word work strategies, storytelling and more.  A MUST HAVE, I think:-)

If Rocks Could Sing: A Discovered AlphabetThe other new ABC book I love is IF ROCKS COULD SING: A DISCOVERED ALPHABET by Leslie McGuirk (I learned about this one from Bill at Literate Lives.)  Author, Leslie McGuirk began a collection of rocks years ago when she noticed rocks that looked like letters. This book showcases her collection in Alphabet Book format. Not only has Leslie McGuirk found rocks that look like every letter of the alphabet, but she's also found rocks that look like obj

1 Comments on 2 GREAT NEW ABC BOOKS, last added: 8/14/2011
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9. A FABULOUS FAIR ALPHABET by Debra Frasier


When I taught Kindergarten and 1st grade, I had a huge collection of alphabet books in my classroom. They are such a great genre for young children.  Now that I am a librarian, I don't think we can have too many good alphabet books. So, I am always thrilled when I find a good new alphabet book to add to the collection.

Yesterday at Cover to Cover, I spotted A FABULOUS FAIR ALPHABET by Debra Frasier. The colors on the cover immediately caught my eye. Bright, bold colors against a white background.

Each page of this great alphabet book focuses on one thing that you see at the fair. Cotton Candy....Lemonade....Tractor. Alongside the illustration of the object is the word, made up of various letter styles from the fair.  Around the page are many versions of the letter that the word starts with. From reading the inside flap of the book, I learned that Debra Frasier loves the state fair and took photos of the lettering at the fair.  She used these photos to create this book and the end pages give a clue into some of her work. They are filled with photos of the fair--photos that include lettering and photos that do not include lettering.

I love so much about this book.  First of all, I love cotton candy and any book that includes cotton candy is a must-have for me.  But I love the letter and they way they are used on each page. So many different types of each letter.  For young children who are just starting to recognize the different ways one letter can look, this is a great resource. I can see kids wanting to create their own words out of letters they find in newspapers and magazines.  For older kids, this is an amazing piece of art.  So much to look at on every page.

I was thrilled to find a fun game and video from Debra Frasier connected to this book. If you visit her website, you can download a game card to take with you to the fair--looking for words all over.

2 Comments on A FABULOUS FAIR ALPHABET by Debra Frasier, last added: 9/3/2010
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10. format

Does Format change a story?

Format. Yes, it makes a difference. How you present information or how you present a story make a difference to the text. For example, I’ve been wanting to write a nonfiction book about a topic and tried writing a proposal for a middle grade book. It didn’t seem right. Moxy Maxwell But then, I decided to try it as a non-fiction ABC book and it has worked well. That format – short snippets of information about 26 subjects – covers the topic very well. Yes, I could include much, much more information; isn’t that always true about a topic you’re passionate about? But this covers the right amount of information for the early elementary years. Just enough, but not overwhelming. The format is right.

Notice that this format change also meant a change in the age of the intended audience.

I’ve taken stories and tried them as a graphic novel, as a middle grade novel and as a YA novel. I’ve taken an early chapter book and divided it into six equal-length chapters, and then divided it again into multiple short, uneven-length chapters (such as Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little). The story doesn’t change, but it feels very different. There are books which I find I can’t read, (Heaven’s Eyes by David Almond) but when I listen to the audio version, I love it. I wonder if stories will feel different when read as an ebook?
heaven's eyes

Audience and format can change the content, the voice, the tone, or the overall feel of a story. What format do you envision for your story? How does that affect what/how you write?

Related posts:

  1. Michelle Nagler, Bloomsbury
  2. Manuscript Length

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11. Gone Wild: An Endangered Animal Alphabet


Gone Wild: An Endangered Animal Alphabet by David McLimans. Library copy. Picture Book.

The Plot: An ABC book featuring endangered animals.

The Good: Alphabet books serve multiple functions. Sometimes, it is the obvious -- to teach the alphabet, to teach what words begin with what letters. Pure literacy. Which is cool.

But that's not this book; here, it's a device used to teach about endangered animals. Each letter illustrates a different animal. Black letters on white pages have been made to resemble parts of animals; sometimes it is easy to tell, sometimes it is more elaborate. You can see some of that on the book cover. It's inventive, it's fun, and it's gorgeous.

As McLimans says in the introduction, "In a way, this alphabet is a return to picture writing. The challenge for me in creating these images was finding endangered animals whose shape and form fit naturally together with the letters that begin their names."

Each page contains the name of the animal, including the Latin name, a full drawing of the animal (in red), and information such as class, habitat, range, threats, and status. A sample using the letter G is found at McLimans' website.

At the end of the book there is additional information on each animal.

Links: New York Times Best Illustrated Books 2006. (slide show)

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