a to zzzzzz’s: the sleepy little alphabet by judy sierra and melissa sweet

#19 in an ongoing series of posts celebrating the alphabet.



I hope you don’t mind my whispering, but I finally got all the lower case letters to go to sleep. As soon as I opened this doozy (or should I say dozy) of a picture book, those little rascals skitter-scattered every which way and their UPPER CASE parents kind of looked at me like this — :o(.

But I know it’s not my fault. Every time anyone tries to read this funny bedtime story the same thing happens. Even though they should be settling down and going to sleep, all the little letters find something they’d much rather do — jump on the bed, play the accordian, read funny stories, take a bath, giggle and fidget. Typical, I say. Alphabet midgets run amok!


Just between you and me, I like them that way. Judy Sierra’s done a brilliant job of capturing all their naughty and nice antics in rollicking rhyming couplets — the lower case letters have a ball flexing their poetic muscle while they oh-so-cleverly elude bedtime (at least for most of the book). Some of these imps even alliterate: “f is full of fidgety wiggles./g has got the googly giggles.”

And the illos? You know how I feel about Melissa Sweet. It wasn’t enough she had to nail the impish personalities of letters big and small in all their goggly-googly-eyed glory. No! In addition to a jumble of shapes, textures, patterns and hilarious expressions rendered in pencil, watercolor, and collage, she just had to add a plethora of polka dots! *swoons* I. am. mad. for. dots!

Pint-sized alphabet learners will love all the giggle-worthy detail. Clothed letters with teeny tiny hands and feet. And those toothy grins would make any dentist proud! Each spread includes objects beginning with the featured letter (for “T” there’s a telephone, turtle, t-shirt, teddy bear and tea set!). Melissa is famous for all those charming little touches that go straight to the heart of what kids love and look for in a book.

Did I mention the polka dots?

There are a ton of alphabet books out there, but Judy and Melissa have managed to create one that’s fresh (slap me!), zany, and vvvvvibrating with energy. Just wait till you see all the little letters going through their bedtime paces, and then finally dozing in their cozy beds. The Sleepy Little Alphabet earned a *starred review* from Horn Book and was awarded a 2009 Oppenheimer Toy Portfolio Award. A great read aloud and fun primer. Go out and grab it!

Oops. I shouldn’t have yelled. They’re up again.

The Sleepy Little Alphabet by Judy Sierra,
illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Knopf (2009), Ages 3-6, 40 pp.
Review copy provided by publisher.


(Finally, somebody besides me who truly believes the alphabet is alive . . .)

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Judy Sierra’s website.

Melissa Sweet’s website.

Other blog reviews: A Year of Reading, 7-Imp, Booking Mama.


*Spreads posted by permission, text copyright © 2009 Judy Sierra, illustrations
© 2009 Melissa Sweet, published by Random House. All rights reserved.

 Certified authentic alphabetica. Handmade just for you with love and a fervent desire to move to Alphabet Town.

Copyright © 2009 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.


6 thoughts on “a to zzzzzz’s: the sleepy little alphabet by judy sierra and melissa sweet

  1. Love this book.
    Melissa Sweet will be stopping by 7-Imp soon, though it’ll be hard to top your wonderful interview with her.


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