on May 18, 2004
The original book is great, but this edition has been butchered beyond belief. All the original pictures have been preserved, but the text has been chopped up to fit into the size limits of the format. For example, P: "Painting Pink Pajamas, Policeman in a a Pail. Peter Pepper's puppy. And now Papa's in the pail." becomes "Painting some pajamas pink. P...p...P." Spend the money and get the full-sized version.
In 1954 "Life" magazine published a report about the problem of illiteracy among the nation's school children and placed part of the blame on the fact that books that were supposed to teach children to read were boring ("See Spot Run. Run Spot run. Fetch the ball, Spot"). Theodore Geisel's publisher sent him a list of 400 words that the author was to cut to 250 words, the number the publisher felt a first grader could absorb, and write a book. "The Cat in the Hat" uses only 220 words and made Dr. Seuss an instant success with beginning readers. Eventually he would go on to write almost four dozen books for children to read all by themselves.
Of course sooner or later Dr. Seuss was going to put out his own alphabet book for beginning readers and in 1963 this book was published. It is, as you would expect, more than a look at the twenty-six letters of the alphabet. Other books will tell you that "A is for Apple" and "Z is for Zebra," but not Dr. Seuss because this book stars with "Aunt Annie's alligator" and ends with a "Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz." Young readers will also enjoy the mix of rhyme and absurdity so much that they might not notice Dr. Seuss is also showing them the difference between the big and little versions of each letter.
As I was reading over "Dr. Seuss's ABC," a book that most definitely wants to be read aloud to be fully enjoyed, I was wondering if I should temper my enthusiasm by saying that this is not an ideal choice for a beginning reader's first alphabet book. After all, something simpler, in the traditional "A is for Apple" mode might be more appropriate. But I think there is something to be said for even beginning readers being confronted with the level of sophistication found in this book. After all, it promotes fun as much as reading and young children might never notice the degree to which they are being challenged.
on July 28, 2012
I am not a big Dr Seuss fan, but I was forced by my 4 children to read the original book many, many times. It was their favourite ABC book. Now I am reading to my one year old granddaughter, and bought the board book for sturdiness. The first time I read it to her, I was tripping and stumbling over the words-the cadence and rhythm of the original is completely mangled. I went and bought the hardcover for reading purposes and she can have the board book for looking at on her own.
Definitely get the original version. I loved the idea of one reviewer to buy several cheap used ones in case of mishaps.
on May 23, 2002
Welcome to the wonderful world of whimsical, wacky writing, and crazy, colorful caricatures - "Big Q, little q what begins with Q? The quick Queen of Quincy and her quacking quacker-oo." An excellent educational tool, "Dr. Seuss's ABC" is an inspired introduction to the alphabet, both upper and lowercase letters, and also reinforces letter sounds through alliteration. The rhythm is so musical, it's addictive, rendering it GREAT fun to read aloud.
I own the "adapted" board book edition as well, which is designed to appeal to newborns, and very young children with short attention spans who are not attentive enough for the full text versions. The text, format, and images have been adapted to accommodate board book standards; yet, the phrasing and prose still flow. That being said, the original is just that - ORIGINAL. It is more amusing, entertaining, and educational, but is appropriate for older children, 4 years and older. If your child is three or older purchase an original version, otherwise think of introducing your infant to the shorter, travel-anywhere format, and procure the original at a later date? The marvelous, magical magician, who was Dr. Seuss, is worth it! Four-years and up.
on July 14, 2007
I grew up with Dr.Seuss books and I wanted to share them with my children. I was very disappointed to find that the board book does not contain the same text as the original ABC book. I can't read this to my kids...say some of the words aloud and you will find it is not at all like a Dr. Seuss rhyme. There was so much silly stuff missing in this version. I am glad I have it memorized because if I was to read this to my kids, I would quote the original version instead of reading what is actually on these pages. I would recommend buying the original hardcover version of this book for sure. That way, your kids won't be missing out on the wacky style that made this amazing writer famous and even makes adults like me laugh out loud.
on March 9, 2016
I didn’t care for <i>“One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish”</i> but praised its memorable artwork. It consisted of nonsense words. Although “<b>Dr. Seuss’s ABC</b>” 1963, committed a little of the same, I like it a good deal better. It started out as an impressively clear teaching tool. Mangling vocabulary so that words sound out in a funny way is never acceptable to me, even in copy among adults. For children’s literature, with education itself as the primary purpose: no way. Despite this book being much more enjoyable; the inadequate five-star scale landed them both on three stars. Thankfully reviews are for explanations. The former deserved more than two and this one didn’t reach four.
<b>Theodore’s</b> pages sing a rhythm, which I like when he lets real words into the singsong. It is artful, making them fun to read aloud, which certainly was the intention. This book walks us through the twenty-six letters of our Greek-originated alphabet. I think he could have shown those infamous words beginning with X, otherwise my complaints are ended. My favourite funny moment is “O”. The sentence makes no sense but certainly exercises tongues with well-known “O” words! <i>“Oscar’s only ostrich oiled an orange owl today”!</i> You really have to love the pleasant orange oil, happily being oiled!
My favourite page for its beauty is “M”. <i>“Many mumbling mice are making midnight music in the moonlight”</i> This leaves a reader with a very nice thought. The drawing is moody and lastingly beautiful. Pale yellow mice under a moon and two simply sketched pine trees, calmly traverse a soft landscape entirely shaded in blue. Wisely: each page demonstrates our alphabet’s large and small letters. For children and new English-readers: this book utilizes very good, fun examples of how to try out each of our letters.
on July 3, 2002
I am not sure what all the controversy is about. This board book is changed from the original. I agree, the original one is much better in that it's longer and has more of the wild wacky words we associate with Dr. Suess books. However, that doesn't make this board book bad. IN fact, I think it is well done.
The fact that the text is shortened works well in my opinion. Most babies don't really have the attention span to sit for a longer book. The fact that this book is a little bit shorter makes it easier to read to a wiggly year old baby.
The pictures are cute and has the wacky characters we associate with Dr. Suess books. The text is just fine and if you hadn't read the original, you wouldn't really know there was much missing in terms of text.
For a young child, board books are great and reading to a baby and young child is important. I think it is more important that you read to your child rather than worry about what has changed from the original. My son who is three loved this book and now my daughter who is 15 months is enjoying it.
on May 22, 2002
Welcome to the wonderful world of whimsical, wacky writing, and crazy, colorful caricatures - "Big Q, little q what begins with Q? The quick Queen of Quincy and her quacking quacker-oo." An excellent educational tool, "Dr. Seuss's ABC An Amazing Alphabet Book!" is an inspired introduction to the alphabet, both upper and lowercase letters, and also reinforces letter sounds through alliteration. The text, format, and images have been adapted to accommodate board book standards; yet, the phrasing and prose, in this particular volume still flow. See the following excerpts:
The original -
"BIG V, little v
Vera Violet Vinn
Is very, very, very awful on her violin."
Revised edition -
"BIG V, little v, what begins with V?
Verna Vera Vin and her violet violin."
I am flabbergasted by the lack of enthusiasm for the revised board book editions of Dr. Seuss's (and others) "Beginner Books" published by Random House. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to offer my infant son a CLASSIC narrative, by means of a board book, even in its ADAPTED form. These magical miniatures are delightfully entertaining for little babies, who enjoy the positive interaction of cooperative play through reading. The objectives of these small books are to appeal to newborns, and very young children with short attention spans who are not attentive enough for the full text versions, they are NOT meant to replace the originals. Moreover, these pocketsize gems are fashioned for effortless travel to the market, on a plane, in the car, or on a train. Hee, hee.
I own most of Dr. Seuss's first editions, in addition to a few of the board book volumes, and agree that the original "Beginner Books" are just that - ORIGINAL. They are more amusing, entertaining, and educational, but are in fact more appropriate for older children, 4 years and older. I believe introducing infants to creative works, such as these, only encourages listening and learning from an earlier age. In summary, if your child is three or older purchase an original version, otherwise think of introducing your infant to the shorter, travel-anywhere format, and procure the original at a later date. The marvelous, magical magician, who was Dr. Seuss is worth it! Birth and up.
on March 12, 2002
Yes, it's nice that Random House Publishing has begun publishing these books in board books. But beware. They are not the same as the original! Sentences have been taken out, the rhythm has been artificially altered, and pictures have been severely edited. Some pictures have been entered into the book that were not there before, and sentences have been changed to meet the edited pictures' contents. I think it is a travesty that youngsters and parents think they are reading the original book (nowhere on the book does it say it's been edited) when in reality it is very different from the real book. If you want your child to have a book to chew on, there are many board books out there. If you want your child to know and love Seuss, get the original. Don't take my word for it though; go to the bookstore and compare them for yourself. I assume Random House is doing this with all the books they are making into board books, but I don't know for sure. Just make sure you know you're not getting the true Seuss.
on January 6, 2002
A...A...a...a...What Begins With A? Aunt Annies Aligator, A..A..a
Big B, little B, what begins with B? Barber, Baby, Bubbles and a Bumble bee.
Twenty-six stanzas of this whimsey creates a great learning opportunity for your kid. I've taught three of my four kids the alphabet with this gem from Dr. Seuss and my fourth is starting to assualt me at every opportunity with this classic.
The art is typical Seuss, the letter lessons are clever and whimsical rhymes and the cadence is perfect (I've even found myself reciting the entire book aloud on long car trips to quiet the troops -- it will burn into your memory in no time).
As my kids got older and were starting to relate sounds to letters, I found I could always go back to the Seuss memory file to help them associate a sound with it's correct letter. A little teaching tool that really worked for us. (Daddy, what does "pig" start with? 'painting, pink pajamas, policeman and a pail....' P! [big smile])
This is a great and easy way to teach your child his or her ABC's and a love of books at an early age.