Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Alpha Oops! H is for Halloween
Kontis, Alethea. 2010. ALPHA OOPS! H IS FOR HALLOWEEN. Ill. by Bob Kolar. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick. ISBN 9780763639662 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK–2]
In this Halloween themed alphabet book, the letters stage a show. Since A isn’t quite ready, top billed H gets things rolling with “H is for Halloween.” What follows, “Z is for Zombie; N is for nightmare,” disregards the usual sequence and includes plenty of humor. B keeps showing up in costumes that are already taken. B, dressed as a buccaneer, tries to follow P’s pirate but is told to “buck up” and find another costume. As the show proceeds, each letter assumes its appropriate spot on the yellow three-lined alphabet strip that runs across the bottom of both pages. Other letters waiting in the wings interject alliteratively encouraging remarks. The letter A finally shows up as an apple-- the bobbing kind. After many failed attempts, B steals the show with his grand finale: “Boo!”
This concept book resonates on several levels. Bob Kolar’s colorful illustrations turn each of the 26 letters of the alphabet into its own unique character. In addition to identifying beginning sounds, readers can make sense of a story line, appreciate humor, predict outcomes, and build vocabulary with words like “imp,” “encore,” “queasy” and even “lycanthrope.” As a postscript, C shows up in green sporting a Santa hat. Readers know at once what will come next.
Gather a variety of alphabet books for children to explore and compare. Allow them to book talk their favorites. Follow up with an opportunity to work collaboratively to create an original alphabet book.
Other Halloween alphabet books:
Stone, Tanya Lee. H IS FOR HAUNTED HOUSE; A HALLOWEEN ALPHABET BOOK.
Winter, Jeanette. CALAVERA ABECEDARIO: A DAY OF THE DEAD ALPHABET BOOK.
By Suzy Parchman