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Turn-Around, Upside-Down Alphabet Book Hardcover – Jul 1 2004

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; New title edition (July 1 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689856857
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689856853
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 1 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #215,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 2–Children who are tired of staid concept books will welcome this one–it literally turns the alphabet on its ear. Each page contains a large block letter enclosed in a square that, when viewed from a different direction–left, right, or upside-down (hence the title)–transforms into an entirely different object. For example, when "J" is rotated clockwise, it becomes, in turn, "an elephant's trunk," "a candy cane," and "a monkey's tail." Some designs, like "O," are easy to spot (bagel, owl's eye, fried egg); others, like "K" (picnic table, a mama duck with two ducklings, Martian's antennae) and "W" (two fish, a cat casting a shadow, a mountain stream), present more of a challenge. With touches of humor and a great deal of creativity, Ernst fashioned this book out of cut paper and surrounded each block with a thick black border that sets off white words. Children will enjoy tilting the pages to see the transformations and will be motivated to come up with ideas of their own.–Laurie Edwards, West Shore School District, Camp Hill, PA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

PreS-Gr. 2. Like Laura Vaccaro Seeger's The Hidden Alphabet [BKL F 1 04], this ABC title combines clean, bold graphics with an optical game. Each brightly hued block letter appears on its own page within a box of artfully contrasting color, while a black background pops the complementary colors even more. The visual exercise comes with the lines of text that ring each page, forcing the reader to turn the book in a full counter-clockwise circle to follow the words. When viewed from the side or upside down, each letter forms abstract shapes in which the accompanying text tries to find something recognizable: a sideways Y becomes "a mermaid's tail," for example. The majority of what Ernst sees in the upended letters will be a far stretch for most kids (and even some adults). But preschoolers may use the book to learn their letters and find their own objects within the designs, while older children, including high-school art students, will enjoy the whimsy and optical challenge of finding new forms in the familiar shapes. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9ecd4f6c) out of 5 stars 10 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e9fba38) out of 5 stars Next time won't you sing with me? May 24 2005
By E. R. Bird - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
When I conjure up the name Lisa Campbell Ernst, what instantly pops into my head is not a stark yet colorful alphabet book. This is the author/illustrator that brought us such memorable classics as, "Stella Louella's Runaway Book", and "Little Red Riding Hood". She has a bubbly cartoony style that I never seriously thought she'd break away from. But break away she has (and how) in this somewhat Laura Vaccaro Seeger-inspired, "Turn-Around Upside-Down Alphabet Book". Apart from being a bit of a mouthful, the book is an inventive take on teaching kids new ways to examine individual letter. And though it bears an uncanny similarity to Seeger's, "The Hidden Alphabet", Ernst's imbued it with enough wit and style to make it stand entirely on its own.

Now to read this book you better be prepared to do exactly as the title suggests. With each letter we see four different ways to view each letter. Turn the letter "A" one way and it's a bird's beak. Turn it another and it's a drippy ice cream cone. Placing her color contrasting letters in meticulously crafted positions, Ernst is able to draw the most remarkable images from her illustrations. At her best, she does amazing things with difficult letters. I was especially impressed with the "magic wand casting a spell" that came from her elegant letter "G". Ditto the "M"'s, "two fish playing chase". Ernst isn't afraid to stretch her images from time to time, however. The "point of a wishing star" that's supposed to come from an angled "A" is sketchy at best. Ditto the "mama duck and her two little ducklings" that springs from an inverted "K".

Another disadvantage to this book comes from the black borders that surround some of the letters. "The Hidden Alphabet" by Seeger is similar in layout to this book, but has thick black borders that never show the residue of oily fingertips. "The Turn-Around Upside-Down Alphabet Book" doesn't have this advantage. If you touch a page, that page stays touched. And considering that this is a book that is going to enjoy multiple repeated touchings, this works to its disadvantage. I know Ernst isn't to blame here, but for her sake I wish the publisher could've found a better black border substance to withstand the grubby prints of little fingers. After two readings, this book will show its age.

Otherwise, it's lovely. A fun way to get kids interested in the alphabet and nice eye-twisting almost optical illusionary twist on a tried and true form. As alphabet books go, it's fine n' dandy. Not the most inventive out there, but certainly not the least. For Ernst fans, it marks quite a departure. For people who've never encountered her work before, it's a lovely introduction.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e9fba8c) out of 5 stars Silly Fun - A review of the TA/UD Book Nov. 8 2005
By The Invisible Pam - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
What I really like about "The Turn-Around Upside-Down Alphabet Book" is that it is not going to loose it's usefulness six months down the road. Some ABC books, for example, that cater to toddlers loose all their appeal when the child becomes an older preschooler or kindergartener. This book, I think, has more staying power and won't become passé so quickly.

With a younger child, for example, you can just ignore the word-play and book turning [you turn the book to get the joke], and just point out the letters and the sounds they make. While with an older child you can sit back and share the joy of finding out what the author has *done* with the letters; what the jokes are.

In addition, you can play like we have to see what you can make out of the letters. (A good way to make writing fun.)

The only 'con' to this fun book is that it does get rather tiring to keep turning the book around to read the text. But in our opinion that's a pretty small drawback.

Four Stars. ABC fun for all ages.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e9fbec4) out of 5 stars An Innovative Alphabet Book Jan. 24 2005
By An Avid Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although a big fan of Lisa Campbell Ernst's previous books, this book sets a new standard for excellence in children's books. The innovative style she presents in this alphabet book is intriguing for both children and adults. While reading this book aloud to young neighbors, they soon learned the fun of using their imagination to determine what each letter might be if turned on its side or upside down. This book is a delight for all ages.
HASH(0x9e9fbeac) out of 5 stars We love it! March 29 2011
By M. Heiss - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book gets you hands-on, turning and twisting the book to change your perspective. Kinetic learning, visual learning - we love it. It works for all ages - it is not your typical alphabet book. My bigger kids (elementary ages) read and re-read it.

We are living through a golden age of children's book publishing. This book is amazing.
HASH(0x9f28e384) out of 5 stars I borrowed this from the local library and liked so much that I decided to buy a copy Feb. 11 2015
By merce loon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I borrowed this from the local library and liked so much that I decided to buy a copy. It's a very clever way to spark imagination.

Depending on the age and vocabulary of the child you may need to show pictures or drawings of some of the prompts.