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The Hidden Alphabet [Hardcover]

Laura Vaccaro Seeger
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
List Price: CDN$ 22.99
Price: CDN$ 16.60 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

Nov. 23 2010
Open this unusual book and you'll be greeted by a striking image of an arrowhead, surrounded by a simple black frame. Lift the frame and the arrowhead will be magically transformed into the letter A. And so it goes, from Balloons, Cloud, and Door, through Leaf and Mice, to Yolk and Zipper. Bold distinctive images and a simple yet ingenious format make this a concept book, and a gift book, to treasure.

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Product Description

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 2-From the black book jacket with cutout openings for each letter of the title to the vibrant, painterly strokes of yellow on the endpapers, Hidden Alphabet is a visual delight. A black mat frames an object on each page. When it is lifted, each of these objects becomes a significant part of the letter's negative space (e.g., two balloons form circles to make the openings in the letter "B"). This clever trick of changing viewers' perspective from foreground to background will keep readers turning the pages to see the other optical illusions this pictorial byplay produces. Because of the way they are formed, the letters are not always completely conventional in shape. This may challenge very young children to identify them, but readers of any age will enjoy seeing a mouse turn into an "M" made of cheese with a few tiny chunks nibbled out of it. Seeger's interesting word choices-arrowhead, inkblot, olive, partridge, quotation mark, yolk-and her sophisticated paintings make this a fascinating artistic experience as well as a learning opportunity.
Laurie Edwards, West Shore School District, Camp Hill, PA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

PreS. Seeger's Hidden Alphabet uses a timeworn approach to A through Z that matches each letter with a word that begins with that letter, then adds a lift-the-flap format and a striking graphic design to transform the book into something new. Each shiny, thick black page features a cut-away through which children can view vibrantly colored objects, such as balloons. By lifting the flap, children will be surprised to discover that the object actually forms part of a letter. Kids may need help recognizing some of the objects featured, but the design is bold and clean enough to make the letters easily discernible. It is a book that manages to be both child friendly and visually exciting. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Aphabet book for kids and adults! Oct. 29 2003
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
What a surprise this book was! The beautiful illustrations pop right off the page. I just had to have it to share with my kindergarten students. When I shared it with my colleagues and principal, 4 of them ordered it right away! It would make a wonderful treasure to share with any age group!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ...and speaking of books that should be considered art... May 17 2005
By E. R. Bird - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
When you think of lift-the-flap-books, you may find yourself imagining those remarkably simple (not to say stupefyingly dull) "Spot" books or some other such dribble. Books that, while perfectly good, aren't exactly going to challenge wee ones' brains too too much. When you think of alphabet books, the mind turns to books where each page displays a letter with some object that begins with that letter. Ho hum, you say? Not a bit of it. "The Hidden Alphabet" has combined two overdone and usually shoddily produced picture book staples to create what may arguably be THE most beautiful alphabet book ever designed. Whether or not children will like the book for its flaps or its pictures remains to be seen. What is unquestionable, however, is its inherently gorgeous layout.

The book is remarkably thick. Probably one of the thickest picture books I've ever had the pleasure of playing with. When you open it up you see two pages with deep black paper. A small square has been cut out on each page, behind which is an image. Underneath the cutout is a word describing that image. For example, the first two pages show an "arrowhead" and some "balloons". Now lift the flap. Behind the first page the arrowhead becomes the center of a marbelized A. Behind the second flap the balloons are the holes in a deep blue B. Now on occasion Amazon.com will allow you to search inside the book and look at some of the pictures. Sadly, you cannot do that here. If you could, you would possibly be able to see some of the cleverer switches. Multiple pointy mouse heads poke inwards to reveal an M. Nails lying askew morph into a lovely N. The book offers no commentary or explanation. This is simply a way to make exploring the alphabet a fun and beautiful experience.

For parents of the sticky-fingered set, I am happy to report that the pages in this book are thick and durable. This isn't to say that a highly dedicated tot couldn't rip an L or a Z out if he or she really wanted to. It just cuts down on the number of potential accidents, is all. Also (and I credit the publisher with this one) fingerprints don't show up on the black pages. Kudos there. All in all, this is a gorgeous piece of work. One of the finest (if not THE finest) alphabetic jaunts to grace library and bookshelves nationwide. If you'd like to make a gift of an alphabet book to someone, but you don't want to feel cheap, "The Hidden Alphabet" is the lushest of its kind. Recommended in spades.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Aphabet book for kids and adults! Oct. 29 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
What a surprise this book was! The beautiful illustrations pop right off the page. I just had to have it to share with my kindergarten students. When I shared it with my colleagues and principal, 4 of them ordered it right away! It would make a wonderful treasure to share with any age group!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easily goes far beyond the usual a-b-c primer Sept. 13 2004
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
It's hard to peg this presentation: Laura Vaccaro Seeger's The Hidden Alphabet's fold-out pages mean it's unlikely to remain durable enough for library lending, yet its unique approach to an artistic look at the alphabet deems it of interest to an older audience than the usual alphabet book would appeal to. Nonetheless, fans of artistic alphabet presentations will find The Hidden Alphabet easily goes far beyond the usual a-b-c primer, inviting fresh perspectives on alphabet art.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alphabet as art May 3 2007
By Michael Emberley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A book that manages to break out of the endless stream of alphabet books clogging the shelves of libraries and bookstores. It's got a style all It's own and a sophisticated view on what we all see as a letter and how we attach meaning to letterforms and words. The cutout form is used to great effect here by not giving it all away for free. You have to think to devour this book. both before you lift the cut-out page and after. The reader needs to look carefully at some letters than younger kids may not get right away - and all the better. A smart kid will get smarter looking at this book, and a new reader will be satisfyingly challenged.

Satisfying for adults, it is a great example of how art can have meaning to all ages.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Work of art posing as a children's book Aug. 12 2011
By S. Howell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Laura Seeger's The Hidden Alphabet is a work of art posing as an alphabet book. Black lift-up flaps frame stunningly simple images of birds, mice, eggs, even quotation marks-setting these rather humble, everyday objects up as works of art in their own right. Lift the flaps and the objects reveal themselves to be a notch in a K, the hole in an R, or the curve of an S.

The book's only text is the name of the objects in the black frame. The result is a blend of short, unimposing text and familiar images that encourages my daughter to try sounding out the words on her own.

That said, if you ask my daughter, she'll tell you she doesn't like this book because there is too much black on the cover. And in fact, she will never pick this book up off the shelf for herself (I have about 6 months of anecdotal data to prove this). At the same time, when we read this book this week, she was fully engaged, lifting the flaps, sounding out words, and critiquing the artist's rendition of the various letters.

Even if this book left my daughter completely cold, I would still pull it out to read with her on occasion because the illustrations are that good. At one point, my daughter turned the page and said, "Wow."

I say "wow" on nearly every page. This book is a visual feast. So why didn't I give it a 5? The cover. We have an early edition of the book that uses a solid black sheet with boxes stamped out of it through which the letters of the title appear. Although my adult self understands completely and fully endorses the genius of this book's cover, the nearly unrelenting black keeps my daughter from ever picking up this book on her own.

And that's a problem.

Based on the Amazon listing, it looks like they've changed the cover for the more recent editions. Perhaps my daughter isn't the only child who doesn't want to read a book draped in all that black.

(Review originally posted at my blog: Caterpickles.com -- Scientific & Linguistic Engagement with a 4 Year Old Mind)
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