The Games You Can Play with Letters and Words

Enchanted Lion has published two extraordinarily engaging picture book stories that open up the magic of sorting letters into words.

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 1.23.09 PMIn Take Away the A, Michael Escoffier’s text and Kris Di Giacomo’s gleeful cartoon animals and gentle monsters show us what magic the removal of a letter from any of a number of commonplace words does to alter meaning. Removing “Y” from “yours,” for example, makes it “ours.” Arranged alphabetically by the letter removed, each page spread has a simple sentence naming the letter to be removed from what word to create what new word. Often, the letter removed is internal to the word, rather than initiating it, making this a wonderful alphabet book for kids who think they are too old for alphabet books.

The author and illustrator team’s follow up alphabet book, Where’s the Baboon?, takes the game to a new level. Here, the book unfolds as a complete story and each page spread offers a question that can be answered by examining the illustration or seeingScreen Shot 2015-10-23 at 1.34.00 PM what new word is highlighted within the telling attribute ascribed to him or her. Again, it’s a passle of rambunctious animals  who are gambling through the pages: The correct response to “Who is hiding behind the castle?” appears within that final word of the question, printed so that the “c,” “a” and “t” are highlighted. (The illustration, on the other hand, presents a scene where all but the cat’s tail is obscured.) This one isn’t an alphabet book in the sense of touching on all 26 letters. Instead, it’s a book where playing with letters and words sheds both light and humor on how flexible the alphabet is.

We’re putting together some activities to help expand these delightful books even further, while helping young readers discover more ways to see the alphabet than as a string of letters. Watch for its arrival in a day or two on our Activities pages.

Take Away the A has already won lots of critical attention. We’re sure Where’s the Baboon? will as well. And we know both are hits with kids who are surprised by how much can happen to words on a page!

About fgoldsmith

Librarian, consultant, writer, reader, regularly on the move

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