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Thursday, May 05, 2011

Into the A, B, Sea: An Ocean Alphabet


Into the A, B, Sea: An Ocean Alphabet
by Deborah Lee Rose
illustrations by Steve Jenkins

Ages 0-4

Scholastic Press; 1st edition (September 1, 2000)

There are quite a few abecedary books featuring animals. Our all time favorite is Alphabeasts by master artist Wallace Edwards.

Steve Jenkins is no stranger in our house. His cut-paper collage work has inspired me enough to try a few with my kids. So, it was only a matter of time before I got down to sharing A, B, Sea here.

Swim the ocean waves with me
and dive into the A, B, Sea


Thus starts this oceanic adventure showcasing exquisite sea creatures using simple rhyming sentences. Not just large or cute creatures. There is the much-ignored Barnacles for B and the typically forgotten Zooplankton for Z, making this a useful book for discussing food chain and ecosystems of the sea.

Brief notes at the back of the book add some information about each of the animals.

There is always this irrepressible curiosity in me, even today, to see what is presented for some of my favorite letters - viz., Q, U, X and Z - especially X, in the alphabet books. I'll just have to leave it to you to find out what A, B, Sea offers. Suffice it to say I was eXpecting Xanthareel or even the ubiquitous X-ray fish and found something different.

One of the aspects that attracts me to animal books is the suggestion of movement, of dynamic activity and flux, without clobbering. A, B, Sea offers crisp and beautiful verbs for the animals: Manatees lumber, Rays swoop low, Dolphins spin. The spin part particularly caught our attention since we recently learnt about Spinner dolphins (Stenella longirostris) from A Whale of a Tale!(Cat in the Hat's Learning Library).

The illustrations are breathtaking as we've come to expect from Steve Jenkins' books.

All in all a visually stimulating, informative, delightful book that has scored repeat reads from the pre-schooler every night for over a week now, and has inspired the kindergartner to explore further.

[image source: paperbackswap.com]

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