ABCDEFG . . . Alphabet books for you and me!

The alphabet. The basis for all we write and read. Let’s celebrate our letters! We can do it with rhyme, with nonsense, in quiet or noisy ways. Our letters tell many stories. Some wonderful books to celebrate the A, B, Cs!

Achoo! Bang! Crash! The Noisy Alphabet by Ross MacDonald

Noisy letters. Yippee! Wahoo! Ding Dang, Eeek, Fwip, Grunt, Honk Honk and on it goes. This book delivers our 26 letters marching across the pages with much exuberance and the aid of a vintage printing press. Noisy! But gorgeous!

LMNO peas created by Keith Baker

These little green peas inspire many different ideas for occupations. Painters. poets. plumbers, pilots, parachutists? That covers the “P”s! Want to guess the “S” occupations? Come on! This is a great way to share this book as a read aloud!

Dr. Seuss’s ABC

Nobody does nonsense better than Dr. Seuss! He is the King of Silly ūüôā My class loved this book and begged me to read certain pages over and over so we could try to recite particular pages together as a class. A taste. Big M little m: Many mumbling mice are making midnight music in the moonlight . . . mighty nice

Alphabetter written by Dan Bar-el and illustrated by Graham Ross.

This book invites the reader to do many things on each page. First, enjoy a story that weaves through letter by letter.

Alberto had an alligator, but he didn’t have a bathing suit.

Benoit had a bathing suit, but he didn’t have a clarinet.

Second, search each page (sometimes you need to search and search and search) for a hidden letter. (a on A page, b on B page, etc)

My Little Sister Hugged an Ape written by Bill Grossman and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes.

 ABCDEFG . . . Alphabet Books for you and me! There's a Book for That

This alphabet book has much more text than others and carries us along in delightful rhymes. The little sister, on a hugging spree,  hugs animals from A to Z. Fun!! And then some more! A sample:

She gave an OCTOPUS a hug. Those eight long arms felt nice and snug,

Gripping my sister in eight different spots. And tangling themselves into eight different knots.

The Dangerous Alphabet written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Gris Grimly

Follow not just letters through the pages. This is is a superbly edgy journey through the land of adventure. Pirates. Monsters. Bats. Creepy tunnels by boat. Eyes are watching you. Will you make it to safety? Follow two children and their pet gazelle through a world beneath the city. Beautifully creepy.

H is for “Help me!” – a cry, and a warning . . .

Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky

 ABCDEFG . . . Alphabet Books for you and me! There's a Book for That

This book could be a very simple, run of the mill ABC book. B is for Ball, C is for Cat, etc. But. . . a very impatient moose cannot wait for his turn and M is very far away when we begin with A! Full of moose mishaps, much humour and a lovely act of kindness. This is easily one of the most shared book during buddy reading time in my room.

Bruno Munari’s ABC

 ABCDEFG . . . Alphabet Books for you and me! There's a Book for That

First published in 1960, travel through interesting pairings and graphically interesting pages.

A piano, a Package, Peanuts, a Pear a Pea Pod for a . . . (turn the page) a Quail.

Each page flows and connects in the most interesting of ways

Flora McDonnell’s ABC

 ABCDEFG . . . Alphabet Books for you and me! There's a Book for That

A study in letters, opposites and clever pairings. Each page has 2 objects beginning with a specific letter. Some of my favourites? The large giant with a tiny red glove perched on his thumb, a regal tiger with a teapot balanced on his head and a rhinoceros sniffing at a radish. Bright, bold and beautiful.

Caveman a B.C. Story by Janee Trasler 

 ABCDEFG . . . Alphabet Books for you and me! There's a Book for That

A hilarious tale told one word at a time in ABC order. Much humour and much to infer.

These books are not just for our children learning their letters. Read them right into the intermediate grades. They let us guess, wonder and delight in the magic of language – from one letter to long strands of text! Enjoy!

New Books for Buddy Reading

Thanks to a generous donation towards books for our classroom and funds matched by Adopt a School, we have some amazing new titles to share when our Grade 2/3 s invite the K/1 class up for buddy reading once a week. It is an important time we all enjoy and now we have some wonderful new books to share together!

Hug Time by Patrick McDonnell is a tiny little book all about having a huge heart. A little kitten so filled with love decides to give the whole world a hug and sets out with friends and a Hug-To-Do-List to travel the world from pole to pole and do just that – hug every living thing he comes across. My favourite? Hugging a big blue whale!

Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett has wonderful rhyming, repetitive text perfect for sharing with our 5 year old little buddies.

Monkey and me, Monkey and me,

Monkey and me, We went to see,

We went to see some . . . .

Flip the page and who knows what you might find? Bat! Elephants! Penguins! All beautifully illustrated in classic Gravett style.

Antoinette Portis created the extremely clever Not a Box. Little Rabbit is in the first picture sitting in what looks like a box. “Why are you sitting in a box?” the text reads. Next picture, little rabbit is in a race car, “It’s not a box,” he explains. And so the book continues. The power of imagination means that a box is really anything a child can make of one. Fun to read and more fun to begin a conversation. What else could a box be?

Hello Baby is written by one of my favourite authors for young children, Mem Fox and illustrated by the incredible Steve Jenkins.

Hello, Baby! Who are you?

The book begins with this first question and goes on to ask many more, Are you a . . . ? Everything rhymes, images are striking and often surprising and at the end, you want to go back and read it all over again. Yes, our 5- 8 year olds aren’t babies but many of them are intrigued by animal babies and Fox and Jenkins have created an engaging delight in a tiny little book.

It is hard to resist the humour in Jeremy Tankard‘s Grumpy Bird. Grumpy Bird wakes up, clearly on the wrong side of his nest, too grumpy to do anything. He won’t eat, play or even fly. His grumpy march across the land looks lovely to every other animal who joins him as he trudges along snipping and quipping at everyone he meets.


In the end, as you might guess, Grumpy Bird has found a cure for his grumpiness and he gets to share it with his friends. Lots of fun, especially for those of us that work really hard to stay mad even when we aren’t anymore . . . .

Little Blue Truck is written by Alice Schertle and illustrated by Jill McElmurry. In this sweet little story, Litle Blue Truck shows a Big Dump Truck the power of many helping hands. I think this book will be a favourite as it is full of rhyme, repetition and animal sounds! So fun to read aloud and have a little buddy join in as they are able: Oink! Quack! Baa! Moo! Cluck! Peep! Neigh! Croak! Maa!

I absolutely adore this book by James Mayhew and now, happily have a copy for the classroom! Saber-toothed tigers. Wooly mammoths. Sleepy dinosaurs. A little boy exploring the world around him. In Boy, author James Mayhew¬†explores a little guy’s yearning for independence while at the same time honouring his deep connections to home (and the happy snuggles from Mom and Dad). Where in the world do we find warmth? In the security and love from our own family.

How fun is this book by Edward Gibbs?! In I Spy with My Little Eye, we turn page after page of eye spy riddles – on each page, we get a clue, the name of a colour and that same colour in a perfect circle that turns into the eye of each creature.

I spy with my little eye . . . something that is gray. I have a very long trunk.

Flip the page and of course you find . . . an elephant! So much fun to look through a spy hole to discover an exciting parade of gorgeously illustrated animals in bright and beautiful colours.

Note: I purchased many of these books in board book version – to give them more lasting power and to be easily held in tiny hands. ūüôā

Thanks to our generous donors and the Adopt a School fund for supporting early literacy at Seymour! We are keen to put the remaining funds into other important book purchases to share with our students.

Little Black Crow

We were very inspired by the gentle repetitive text and muted art in Chris Raschka‘s book Little Black Crow.¬†This book begins with the question Little Black Crow, Where do you Go? and goes on to ask 26 more questions all inspired by the wondering of a little boy who spies a crow up in the sky. Simple, engaging, lovely to read again and again.

We took pencil to paper and practiced making crows in Raschka’s style and went on to create art pieces and added our own “mini poems” also borrowed from Rashka’s style of wondering verse. Finished pieces look gorgeous.

Below is Sergio‘s poem.


Some students, like Khai, chose to use bright colours as a background.


Others were inspired by the paler colour scheme Raschka used in his book.


Truman really captured the loose lines that come together to create a charming crow in Raschka’s style.


Christmas Delicious

The holiday season often means a lot of tasty treats! Gingerbread, chocolate, madarin oranges . . . Everyone has their favourites. Maria, our BLG reader brought in Christmas Delicious to share with us. This sweet little rhyming story is written by Lyn Loates and illustrated by Mark Jones.

This book features two lucky little mice Raisin and Rice who live in the storeroom of Zanzibar’s Deli. As Christmas approaches, the little (although nicely plump!) mice decide to plan a holiday feast and get lost in their tantalizing list of foods that should be included. Students were intrigued to read their ever growing list as some of the items were things they had never heard of before: fresh lox, turkish delight, macaroons . . . The mice bake, plan and prepare and everything seems perfect until they realize that they have forgotten the most important thing: to invite their friends! They race about the neighbourhood inviting all of their friends to the Zanzibar Delicatessen. Now everything truly is perfect! The last lines of the book:

They both learned anew what has always been true:

Christmas is best when it’s shared!

Happy Holidays!

Where Would I Be in an Evergreen Tree?

Our BLG reader this week was Bill. He read us Where Would I Be in an Evergreen Tree? written by Jennifer Blomgren and illustrated by Andrea Gabriel.

evergreen tree

There was lots to learn from the text of this book: all about nurse logs, the life cycle of trees, the amazing creatures that inhabit the forest and the wonder of every layer. The book ends with an invitation to come into the forest and discover more for yourself. But it is the illustrations that pull you deeper – the lush vibrant greens, the dripping rain, the spotted wingspan of the owl . . . Wow!

Such a gorgeously illustrated book. Students also kept referring to the pictures and how beautiful they were.

Would love to use this before a forest walk. Or after and connect our learning . . . .

Our student reviewers report:

Catriona: Its illustrations were very very interesting because they were probably painted and they looked real. I could easily connect to it.

Truman: I like the drawings and the rhymes and the details. I like the page that has the pine martin on it because of the snow and how the pine martin is jumping.

Khai: The illustrations are great because they were nice and colourful. They reminded me of another book about a forest.

Deandra: It was really cool. I saw a squirrel gliding to a big tree. I liked it so much I loved it.

The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School

Dan, our BLG reader this week brought in the engaging story The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School written by Laura Murray and illustrated by Mike Lowery.

Poor, freshly baked gingerbread man loses the children who made him! He races all over the school looking for his children and repeating to anyone who might be able to help:

“I’m the Gingerbread Man. And I’m trying to FIND

The Children who made me But left me BEHIND.”

It is quite a dramatic search – he loses a toe, ends up in someone’s lunch bag and lands in the principal’s chair. Where are those children?

The principal points out that the children are also searching for him and reveals the “Missing” posters posted all over the school. The Gingerbread Man and his children are reunited and all is well. Told with fun rhyming text and cartoon like illustrations. Lots of fun!

Some funny discussion happened as Dan read this book. At the end of the story, the students show the Gingerbread Man the house they had made for him. This prompted the students to think about why he would need a house.

Shae-Lynn: “Does he need to sleep in there?”

Sergio: “Yeah, cuz he’s real! But he could just sleep in the oven.”

Shae-Lynn: “No, because, he’ll get cooked!”

Sergio: “Oh yeah.”

Our student reviewer reports:

Truman: I like the book because the gingerbread man keeps going in rooms and can’t find the people who made him!

Jack and the FlumFlum Tree

BLG reader Deborah brought us a fabulous book to read together: Jack and the FlumFlum Tree written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by David Roberts.

How much do we love to read rhyming text together? A whole lot! Add in some quirky repetitive phrases like,

“Don’t get your knickers in a twist,” said Jack.

“Let’s have a look in the patchwork sack.”

and well, we know we have an energizing, engaging book to jump into!

Jack’s granny had great big purple spots (lots and lots). The diagnosis: the moozles! Oh no! But . . . there is a cure – the fruit that grows on the flumflum tree on the faraway Isle of Blowyernose! ¬†So Jack sets off with Rose and Stu and a patchwork sack full of an odd assortment of items (careful readers should pay attention to what is in the sack!) The journey to the Isle of Blowyernose is not an easy one. Circling sharks, a leaking boat, and Stu overboard are some obstacles that the crew must overcome. Those items in the sack are very handy and the three adventurers complete their mission successfully. Such a fun read aloud! Students were repeating reoccurring lines quickly and loved to guess which item from the sack the children might need to solve each problem. There is nothing like a room full of shrieks of ¬†“Ohhh!” and “Ahhh!” and children shouting out answers in unison. Verdict: This book is a winner! Perfect for buddy reading and sharing again and again!

Our student reviewers report:

Truman: I like the part when they sailed to Blowyernose and they blew their noses!

Khai: I really liked the illustrations because they were nice and bright!

This is a fabulous author/illustrator pair and we enjoyed another of their books – Tyrannosaurus Drip last spring with a BLG reader.

Julia Donaldson has a fantastic website to check out with information about all of her books. Exciting news?! Julia is the new Children’s Laureate. Read about her goals and passions here.

David Roberts is one of my very favourite illustrators. His website is wonderful to explore.

Tyrannosaurus Drip

Sam, our BLG reader this week, brought in the very fun book Tyrannosaurus Drip by Julia Donaldson (of Gruffalo fame) and illustrated by David Roberts. Rhyming text, dinosaurs, lots of humour. What is not to like?

The story? A duck billed dinosaur egg ends up in a T-rex nest. Mommy and Daddy Tyrannosaurus are not too impressed with this little vegetarian offspring that hatches. The feeling is mutual and little Drip (cruelly named) decides to run away. He discovers some amazing things. One, he can swim! Two, he seems to look a lot like these lovely creatures who celebrate weed eating over meat eating. Clever little Drip outwits the tyrannosaurus family and is celebrated as a hero!

Watching everyone join in with Sam on the repeating parts was pretty cute! Some students definitely got the rhyming – some not so much.

And spluttering, and clinging to the branches of the tree,

They went whooshing down a waterfall and all the way to sea

Student ” You mean the ocean?”

Sam (gently) “Yes, but ocean doesn’t rhyme.”

Our student reviewers report:

Gary: “I liked the story because it rhymes. The story was funny when the mother jumped and broke the tree!”

Jeremiah: “I liked the book. It was cool. I like dinosaurs a lot.”

Jena: “I thought the part was funny when the tyrannosaurus sisters saw their reflection and got scared.”

Lisa: “I like this book because it rhymes like a poem. It was funny when Drip refused to eat meat.”

Josiah: “I like the book when the small dinosaur stole the egg and brang it to the Tyrannosaurus and then it hatched. When they gave him chicken, he said,”No I am a plant eater!”