Alphabet Under Construction Paperback – Jul 25 2006
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The only one having a better time than the buck-toothed Mouse in Alphabet Under Construction is Denise Fleming, the gifted writer and illustrator who here brings back the hungry hero of Lunch for a trip through the alphabet and an arts-and-crafts roll call.
Letter by letter, page by page, the playful Mouse "constructs" the alphabet--airbrushing the A, buttoning the B, carving the C, and so on, employing all manner of scaffolds, ladders, and high- and low-tech devices to get the job done. (Clearly Mouse didn't really blow his budget until near the end, on the custom tiles, the X-ray machine, and the welding equipment.) Fleming employs an arcane process that involves "pouring colored cotton pulp through hand-cut stencils" to create her distinctive style. But fortunately, you don't have to have any idea what that means to enjoy her sense of humor, her vibrant colors, and her boisterous compositions.
Mouse gets messy before it's all over, but he delivers the alphabet on time--and only has to work two weekends! (As a funny touch, Fleming includes a note-covered project calendar that Mouse collapses under as he finishes.) Alphabet Under Construction also includes a fold-out, 42-by-7-inch poster that shows every page, from A to Z. (Ages 4 to 8) --Paul Hughes --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Mouse, the rambunctious rodent first seen in Fleming's Lunch, returns in this concept-book salute to hands-on (or, in this case, paws-on) creativity. Beginning at the beginning the letter A, of course Mouse fashions letters by means of various arts and crafts. Fleming has embraced the broadest definition of "construction" to include such activities as sawing, gluing, buttoning, icing (as in a cake) and quilting. Young children will no doubt enjoy seeing Mouse scurry sometimes humorously splattered with materials from one letter to the next, although they may puzzle over a few of the scenes. A few of the entries strain to fit the overall theme as when Mouse X-rays the X, Yanks the Y and Judges the J. The always playful, exuberant mood of Fleming's handmade-paper artwork, however, remains intact. Her broad range of dynamic, intense colors envelops readers with its sunny warmth. Ages 2-5.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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For babies and toddlers, there are better introductory alphabet books out there.
That said, it is a innovative, sturdy book that should delight toddlers and older babies. It shows a mouse hard at work, constructing and improving the letters of the alphabet. He `airbrushes' the A, for example, and `hangs' the H, `yanks' the Y and so on.
The use of a verb that correspond with the letter in question, gives parents/caregivers the chance to point out (i.e. teach) the connection between the letter and it's sound. For example: The mouse *judges* the J.
*Judge* has the `juh', j-sound.
In addition, this book offers toddlers the chance to learn about the structure of reading. How text flows from page to page, and left to right. And they will also have a chance to pretend to read by remembering and reciting bits and pieces of the book because the text is not too long.
Four Stars. The artwork is cute and the text is large enough that you won't need glasses (lol). Babies should enjoy the mouse, and Toddlers should enjoy the silliness. Both groups can learn and reinforce their understanding of letters, words, and reading. Parents can emphasize, letter sounds, word construction and memory work.
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