________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 27. . . .March 18, 2011


Alligator, Bear, Crab: A Baby's ABC.

Lesley Wynne Pechter.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2011.
24 pp., board, $9.95.
ISBN 978-1-55469-360-3.

Subject Headings:
English language-Alphabet-Juvenile literature.
Alphabet books.
Animals-Pictorial works-Juvenile literature.

Preschool / Birth-age 3.

Review by Roxy Garstad.

**** /4


As any parent or librarian collecting children's books will tell you, there are slews of board books available for very young children. Occasionally, a unique book will demand attention, and such is the case with Lesley Wynne Pechter's Alligator, Bear, Crab. This board book runs through the entire alphabet, with the names of different animals assigned to each letter. Many Canadian animals that do not typically appear in books are present here, with the loon and the orca whale being two such examples. Unconventional animals, such as the newt, urchin, and vole also appear, adding interest for the child and parent alike. The first letter of each word is set apart in a different colour, making it possible for a parent, librarian, or pre-school teacher to highlight each letter of the alphabet to a young child.

internal art      According to the publisher, the pictures in Alligator, Bear, Crab originated from a series of canvas paintings "influenced by the woodcut-feel of Japanese prints." The simplicity and elegance of the Japanese woodcut is exemplified in this board book. Animal faces and expressions are emphasized, and all faces are friendly, but not necessarily imbued with a conventional smile. Colour, too, is unconventional, and this book is a refreshing change from the standard board book that is permeated by the all-too-familiar primary colour scheme. With main colours of muted green, orange, and aquamarine that are pleasing to the eye, one can see how this book could be soothing to a young child.

      Alligator, Bear, Crab is suitable for infants, who enjoy looking at pictures and hearing a familiar voice, and all the way up to toddlers who like to repeat words and may even "read" the book themselves, prompted by the pictures and their ever-expanding memories. My two-year-old grabbed this book from my hands and would not let me take it from her until after several re-readings - this is my definition of success with a new book! Alligator, Bear, Crab is suitable for public libraries and personal home collections.

Highly Recommended.

Roxy Garstad is a librarian at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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