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"This book is dedicated to my Grandchildren and all the kids I have cared for throughout the years."

The foundation for any child’s ability to read and enjoy books—or to begin formal learning in the first place—is often the simple alphabet. It can be a lot to digest and take in at once with so much to memorize and no context beyond repetition, so it often helps to give a visual representation that children can associate with at least a single letter. Like many alphabet books, this one uses the method of pairing each letter with one item that starts with the letter in question—in this case, animals. Each page offers children a capital letter, the name of the animal, and a full-page painted illustration of every animal from A to Z. And yes, that includes Q and X as well.

Children will get the opportunity to learn not only about the letters of the alphabet but a diverse selection of animals from around the globe. Some of these creatures will be familiar, while others may have parents and kids heading to the Internet or the zoo to catch a glimpse of them in action. The large illustrations have defined brushstrokes that give a sense of texture, capturing the attention of even the youngest potential readers and encouraging them to reach out and touch the page, including the letter itself. By getting more than one sense involved, this book will be something that children want to interact with and help them get started on the path to reading many more wonderful books of all shapes and sizes.

Animals are something that children immediately feel curiosity about and kinship for in most cases, and so their inclusion as a method to learn the alphabet is one that parents should find quite effective. The author herself did all of the illustrations, and the level of detail, personality, and texture all come together quite brilliantly to bring these pictures to life. The various critters and majestic specimens alike are typically captured in a pose of rest, but their various attributes make them all stand out. These also do a good job of getting their temperaments across. Children will recognize animals from around their own neighborhood or perhaps from other books, while others will leave older children asking questions that parents can use to continue learning about topics beyond the alphabet itself.

All readers need to begin with the basics, and while there is certainly no shortage of options when it comes to alphabet books, at the end of the day, it all comes down to what a child will resonate with and be drawn to. Any parent who has seen an infant reaching out for a household cat or dog will know the way they seem to laser in and focus deeply on the friendly creature, and the warm, non-threatening illustrations of animals in this book could easily do the same. The rustic, hand-crafted feel of the pictures adds personality and timelessness that readers of all ages will feel delighted to share with a child. Any child who gravitates toward the art in this book should become enamored enough to become familiar with their ABCs before long.

Michael Radon, US Review of Books

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