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Author: Jeffers, Oliver
Publisher: Harper Collins
Year Published: 2014
ISBN: 9780007514274
Grades: Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6, Kindergarten

Once Upon an Alphabet

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Jeffers brings his inimitable style and lovely illustrations to an alphabet book with a difference. While many typical alphabet books show an image paired with a letter, Jeffers gives us a whimsical short story connected to each letter. We begin, of course, with A and a story about an astronaut who is afraid of heights and continue to move through with gems like the Lumberjack’s Light, where Jack needs no nightlight as he shines from being struck by lightning. Playful and often hilarious, many of the storylines connect with each other, as when the answer to Enigma being found in Nearly Nine thousand. Finally, at Z for Zepplin, our astronaut hero from the first story returns, bringing the alphabet into full circle. Endpapers provide illustrations that subtly infer the ending to many of Jeffers’ tales.
Jeffers’ illustrations feature his gentle, subtly coloured signature, yet he ensures that each letter has its own style, sometimes realistic, sometimes not. Older readers can be challenged to discuss the reasons behind the style chosen for each story. Use for ‘letter days’ in kindergarten or grade one, or as a writing prompt for older readers. Grades 1-6

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