Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Review: Secret Agent Josephine's ABC's

Secret Agent Josephine's ABC's
Secret Agent Josephine's ABC's by Brenda Ponnay

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Based on the title, I was expecting a far different book than what ended up being presented. I was expecting a fun search through the alphabet, finding letters in places the child wouldn't expect them. Instead, what I was given was a pretty standard, run of the mill alphabet book.

Each page showed a single, large letter with a picture of whichever word the author was using to show off that letter of the alphabet. In smaller letters below the letter and picture it would tell what the letter stood for (For example, on the page for V, there is the letter V in the center, a vacuum to the left partially obscuring the letter and in parenthesis and small type below it, it says, "V IS FOR VACUUM").

While the author didn't do traditional words for each letter (on Q using quetzal and on U using underwear), several are ones that I'd come to expect through the many, many, many alphabet books that I've read to my boys over the years. There are so many other A's out there beyond Apple and Ant. I enjoy finding different ones.

The artwork wasn't bad. Each page is a golden background with a large, lighter shade sunburst in the middle. The letters are in Times New Roman font and colored a brick red. Each item that is chosen as an example of the letter has eyes and a mouth (including the underwear, which is slightly disturbing). The only change beyond the example is where on the page it's placed. Sometimes it's the the side of the letter, sometimes above, sometimes behind. But for the most part, the elements are the same. In some ways, this is good - it provides continuity for younger children just learning their ABCs. But it also borders on the boring. The whimsical examples really are the only thing that saves it from being so.

All in all, it wasn't a bad ABC book, but it was far, far from what I'd expected. I was hoping for fun with the alphabet and instead got the same old, same old.

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