Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Alphabeasts

Edwards, Wallace (Author/Illustrator)
Kids Can Press 2008. 32 pages
First published: 2002
ISBN: 9781554532278 (paperback)
9781553373865 (hardcover)
9781894786713 (e-book)
Original language: English
Dewey: 421
Book type: Picture Book

Award

Governor General’s Literary Award – 2002

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

“A is for Alligator, awake from a dream.” From the start, this book’s debt to surrealism is acknowledged—a fact likely irrelevant to young readers, too busy enjoying the funny rhymes and the magnificently detailed images. (“B is for Bat, slurping ice cream.”)

There is much to absorb in these rich phrases and images— aspects that may be beyond many youngsters’ full comprehension: a cat gazes into a dresser mirror and sees a tiger, “C is for Cat, who reflects on itself.” An elephant derails a toy train with its trunk, “E is for Elephant, on the right track.” As such, this book can also be used by confident readers in both creative writing and art projects as a model for allusion and visual punning.

Meanwhile, children will be pleased to detect the spotted jaguar slinking down the checker-patterned stairway, “J is for Jaguar, checking the stairs.” They’ll appreciate the downright silliness of the octopus tangled in a chandelier, “O is for Octopus, changing a light,” and recognize the contented birthday pig, snoozing under a half-eaten tray of chocolates, “P is for Pig, tucked in for the night.”

Altogether, this substantial alphabet book offers up quirky fun, with a whole lot more.

  •  

    Before reading, discuss the title and predict what the story will be about. Look closely at the illustrations of the Victorian house and hunt for animal clues.

  •  

    Brainstorm synonyms for beast. Discuss why the animals in the story are described as beasts, yet they are portrayed in a domestic setting. Would any of these animals like living in a house? Would any of them make a good pet?

  •  

    Make a list of the rhyming words. What do these words have in common? With a partner, choose two consecutive letters of the alphabet and two wild animals that match the letters. Create your own two-page rhyming layout.

  •  Discuss the illustrations on each page. Which animals do you recognize? Which are new or different? 
  •  

    Create a word wall or word cloud of animal names from the text.

  •  

    Create a personalized version of the book using a different set of animals. Write one sentence to describe each animal. 

  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Science and Technology