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  • Where the Board Books Are


A B SEE by Elizabeth Doyle

A lot of parents have mixed feelings about alphabet books. Is my child really learning the alphabet when I read this? What if my child already knows the alphabet? I think something to keep in mind is that alphabet books aren't necessarily meant to teach the alphabet but rather are used to provide structure to the author's writing. A B SEE, for example, while I'm sure it could help some children learn the alphabet, is definitely a book meant for children in the 3-5 age range. Instead of just one object for the letter A, there's a whole list of things that children have to name. Alligator, apples, acorns, arm, alarm clock, automobile, anteater, anchor, airplane, alphabet, acrobat, africa, etc. From that example alone you can see why this book is better suited to older children, and, in my opinion, should have been published as a hardcover or softcover book instead of a board book.

A B SEE by Elizabeth Doyle

So then what is the benefit of this book as a board book? Something that is beneficial about the book is that it exposes children to a wide-range of vocabulary. You might even think of this book as an illustrated dictionary.

The downside however of the book is that the text doesn't complement the illustrations. For the letter Q for instance, the text reads, "Quail questions getting cozy in a quaint quilt." First you have to find the quail, then the quilt, and then the only indication of the quail questioning anything is from the array of question marks built into the illustration. This is not a very convincing depiction of a quail questioning something if you ask me. Many of the other letters are not convincing either. For the letter R you have "Rhino runs rampant to round up raspberries." Not only does it not look as though the rhino is even running, you can hardly see the raspberries.

On the upside, the book does include a glossary of all the objects in the book which is nice.

If your child likes to find things, or if you're looking for a book with an expansive vocabulary, then I'd say it's a good find. But for children under 3 it falls short of what a board book should be -- something a child can open and enjoy over and over again as well as learn from. (Maybe there are a few pictures in the book that a parent could point to that a child under 3 would recognize or be able to identify but all and all I think the book is too advanced for children under 3.) Nonetheless, A B SEE is a unique idea for an alphabet book.

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