Friday, July 9, 2010

Our summer literary escapism, courtesy of Baltimore's Child

We won?!?!

I was salivating.

I have never won a door prize or raffle in my whole life. Last week, I received a phone call from The Montessori School letting us know that we had won a beautiful basket of books from the Baltimore Regional Toddler Fair, courtesy of Baltimore's Child. Woohoo! Because we were on vacation, I didn't have a chance to pick it up until this week. Have you seen those Publisher's Clearing House Commercials where the people open the front door, jump up and down (and you wonder how Mrs. So-and-So could jump that high at eighty?) and scream? I have the same reaction to really good children's books.

My kid does, too.

You should have seen how wide Lila's little eyes got when she spied the basket in my office. Then she gleefully pulled out each book and squealed. Her new favorite sound is "OOOHHHH!" There were about two dozen books. Most of them I'd never read before (even with an MSEd in literacy development), so each book is like a new exploration. We are loving our trek through storyville.

So THANK YOU, Baltimore's Child, for providing a whole summer's worth of literary escapism, learning and stories for our Bug!

Because Baltimore's Child is such a great local resource, is committed to raising healthy, happy kids, and we all know how important early literacy development is, we're going to review one book from the basket each week. That way, you can escape with us, too!

So here it is - - the first (cool) book review in honor of Baltimore's Child! And this week's selection is: The Sleepy Little Alphabet, written by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Melissa Sweet.

This is an adorable little bedtime gem, with gorgeous illustrations and a sweet little alphabet poem about how all of the little (lowercase) letters get ready for bed in Alphabet Town. As you can imagine, some of the little letters are more helpful at bedtime than others (n is particularly naughty and u takes off his underwear, shocking his mother).

It's a great book to help your child with letter recognition, and is funny to boot. The letters in the illustrations are rather large, perfect for having your child trace them with his or her fingers as you read. Melissa Sweet is my new favorite children's illustrator. Her images bring imagination to life on the page. Simply wonderful.

The whole book is an ingenious idea really. Ever wonder how ingenious ideas for books come around? I hopped on over to Judy Sierra's website and found the answer to my question:
Ideas for stories come to me in many ways. A friend or an editor may offer a suggestion, or I might see or hear something in the real world that sets my story wheels spinning. Other times, my imagination does the work for me. I remember the moment exactly when a letter Z appeared on my mind's TV screen. There it was, sound asleep, with a line of little "z's" coming out of its mouth, representing a snore. Immediately I thought of an alphabet book. The big letters would be putting the little letters to sleep. As I worked on the manuscript, it seemed that the letters at the beginning of the alphabet should be saying, with their actions "I'm not sleepy," then the middle letters should be strenuously--even naughtily--refusing to go to sleep. The final letters would get sleepier and sleepier, leading up to my image of the letter Z. I threw in rhyme and alliteration just to make the writing more challenging and more fun. My editor suggested that an opening stanza would be useful. We spent a long time discussing how to spell "skitter-scatter." "Skatter" or "scatter"?
So skitter-scatter over to your local library and pick up this fabulous find. I'll wager you'll end up hitting your local bookstore to pick up a copy for your own collection after you fall in love it it, too!


Jackie H. said...

I've never seen that book. It looks like it would be a hit in my house! I will definitely be checking it out. I understand the winning thing too. I won 2 tonka trucks last week. I never won anything until I started following blogs ;)