"We're acrobats, artists, and astronauts in space.
"We're builders, bathers, and bikers in a race.
"We're climbers, campers, and he's a circus clown.
"We're dancers -- 'Can you dig it?' and drivers round town."
In preparation for a class I will be teaching, I recently wandered (from A to Z) through the shelves of picture books in the children's collection of a large public library. It is a collection in which spine identification labels have been affixed to each of the books that is an ABC book -- those books designed as concept books meant to assist in teaching children identification of the letters of the alphabet and, typically, the related sounds of those letters. It was ABC books that I was seeking out that day.
While quite an illuminating process, I don't recommend your reading dozens of ABC books one after another if you are looking for a good time.
"We're eaters, electricians, and explorers searching land.
"We're farmers, flaggers, and best friends in a band."
I've always found that there are two kinds of ABC books: The ones you read once and have no desire to ever read again -- at least not for fun -- and the ones that are way fun. Unfortunately, I've always found far more of the former than the latter.
When I compare books in these two categories, I find that the ones that I have a desire to read again and again are those that contain action and rhythm and go far beyond the confines of the "concept" book. For me, CHICKA CHICKA BOOM BOOM sets the standard for ABC books that you can read one hundred times without wanting to either hurl or fall asleep. Another one firmly in this category -- which, like CHICKA CHICKA BOOM BOOM, I have probably read aloud one hundred times -- is OLD BLACK FLY.
LMNO PEAS is the latest ABC book I've found that I can easily imagine making this one hundred reads aloud cut.
"We're painters, poets, and plumbers fixing leaks.
"We're pilots, parachutists, we're peas and...
These are peas with personality, and peas who are on the move. There are large upper-case block letters and the action takes place on and around these letters. There are bushels of humorous details to discover. For example, on the E and F two-page spread, a pair of hard-hatted electrician peas are inserting a large plug into an outlet installed on the bottom of the upper leg of the letter E. If you follow the wire -- which winds around the letter E before heading off to the next page -- you will discover that it is providing the power for the "best friends in a band" (whose band name is Pod). These illustrations are an integral part of a rhythmic read, as opposed to being pictures of objects on a list of alphabetically-ordered words. In contrast to so many concept books that are illustrated books rather than picture books, LMNO PEAS is an exceptionally well-illustrated picture book.
(And a very peasing one it is.)