05 July 2010

Can We Build It? Yes We Can!

A lot of little boys love tools. Isaac is especially fascinated by hammers and screwdrivers. When Matt has a DIY job around the house, Isaac likes to help by figuring out what kind of screwdriver is needed and getting it for his daddy. Alphabet Under Construction by Denise Fleming perfectly taps into this boy-centric topic.

It is, as the title implies, an alphabet book. For each letter, Mouse is engaging in an action that has something to do with building or creating the letter. He "airbrushes the A," then a few pages later he "levels the L," later he "saws the S," and finally he "zips the Z." In each picture the mouse labors away with his tools. A nice touch that Fleming added on the end papers is a calendar which shows Mouse's work schedule. One thing that I do wish had been included is a spread showing all of the letters together, though there are promotional posters of the book with just that available.

Fleming's illustrations are especially engaging in this book. She creates the materials that she uses and the pictures are colorful and full of texture.

One thing that I especially like about this book is that it allows children to figure out what tool is being used with each letter. The action is stated, but the tool is in the picture. So, readers have to use the illustration to figure out that Mouse "yanks the Y" with a pulley and "nails the N" with a hammer.

While the teacher in me looks at this book as a good resource for teaching younger students about common tools and how they work, I also know that Isaac likes it because of his innocent fascination with all things construction related.

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