(the buzz about) A is for Bee by Ellen Heck

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

Just when you think you know the alphabet, along comes a fun and inventive animal abecedarian that shows you what you’ve been missing. 

Set aside the predictable ‘A is for Alligator’ and ‘Z is for Zebra’ books. In Ellen Heck’s A is for Bee: An Alphabet Book in Translation (Levine Querido, 2022), we learn what 26 familiar animals are called around the world.

We speak to each other in many languages, and in some of them . . . A is for Bee.

Although the word bee begins with ‘B’ in English, in some other languages, it actually begins with ‘A’: Aamoo (Ojibwe), Abelha (Portuguese).

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[tasty review + giveaway] Things We Eat by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong

#61 in an ongoing series of posts celebrating the alphabet

Hmmm, looks like there’s only one chocolate chip cookie left. Go ahead and take it – I won’t tell. 

While you’re busy nibbling, I’ll tell you all about the brand new ABC food anthology edited by our favorite poetry goddesses, Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. 🙂

For Things We Eat (Pomelo Books, 2022), Sylvia and Janet donned their perky chef hats to cook up a tempting smorgasbord of 27 delectable poems just right for eager munchkins ages 3-7. 

They invited 25 hungry poets –  both new and established – to write ekphrastic poems based on appetizing color photos of kids preparing, growing, shopping for, eating and sharing a variety of diverse foods. Janet herself penned two yummy poems for the collection: “Kimchi” and “Alphabet Menu.” 

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All Rise for the Letter A!

#60 in an ongoing series of posts celebrating the alphabet

Any poet who so jubilantly sings the praises of the letter A is a poet after my own heart. 

from Alphabet by Paul Thurlby (2011)
THE LETTER A
by Darren Sardelli

The letter A is awesome!
It's arguably the best.
Without an A, you could not get
an A+ on a test.
You’d never see an acrobat
or eat an apple pie.
You couldn’t be an astronaut
or kiss your aunt goodbye.
An antelope would not exist.
An ape would be unknown.
You’d never hear a person
say “Afraid” or “All Alone”.
The A’s in avocado
would completely disappear
and certain words would be forgot
like “ankle”, “arm”, and “ear”.

Without the A, you couldn’t aim
an arrow in the air.
You wouldn’t ask for apricots
or almonds at a fair.
Aruba and Australia
would be missing from a map.
You’d never use an ATM,
an apron, or an app.
The arctic fox and aardvark
would be absent from the zoo,
and vowels, as you know them,
would be E, I, O, and U.
There wouldn’t be an A chord
on the instruments you play.
Let’s appreciate, admire,
and applaud the letter A!

~ Reprinted from Blast Off! (The School Magazine, 2016), posted by permission of the author.

How fun to consider some of the marvelous things we’d miss in the absence of A!

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[tasty review] ABC El Salvador by Holly Ayala and Elizabeth Gómez

#59 in an ongoing series of posts celebrating the alphabet

Hola, ¿cómo estás?

At this very moment I’m enjoying a piece of Quesadilla Salvadoreña along with a nice warm cup of atol de elote. Want some? 🙂

Now we’re all set to travel around San Salvador and the town of Witzapan with young Xiomara (pronounced see-oh-MAR-ah). Friendly and oh so proud of her home country, Xiomara introduces us to her family, shows us places she likes to visit, and shares interesting tidbits of history, geography and culture in both Spanish and English.

Young readers will enjoy ABC El Salvador whether they are familiar with El Salvador or not. Since kids’ books on the subject are few and far between, Salvadoran children all over the world will be happy to see themselves represented in this book. 

Those unfamiliar with this unique place — the smallest country in continental America — will have fun learning the Spanish alphabet through Xiomara’s personal perspective.

She’s a girl after my own heart, since she begins with Atol, a sweet corn beverage she likes nice and warm (bien calientito!).

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“Letter Perfect” by Alice N. Persons

#58 in an ongoing series of posts celebrating the alphabet

 

I’ve always had a thing for the letter “O.” Hardworking and versatile with many shades of pronunciation in English, its simple circular shape (eternal and open) is pleasing to the eye. Lacking any sharp edges, smooth, amiable O is happy any side up and is always ready to roll.

As a distinctive exclamation, O is a word unto itself and knows how to command our attention in verse as well as song (Shakespeare was especially fond of O):

 

O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? (Romeo and Juliet)

O curse of marriage! (Othello)

O brave new world (The Tempest)

O that this too too solid flesh would melt (Hamlet)

O Captain! my Captain! Our fearful trip is done . . .(Walt Whitman)

O perfect Love, all human thought transcending (Dorothy F. Gurney)

 

Such heft, such strong emotion! Sometimes, only O will do. 🙂

If it seems like O is always looking at you, it’s because it evolved from the Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol for the human eye. And O is the only letter whose name creates its shape on the speaker’s lips.

Say it now: “O.”

Perfect letter, perfect love.

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“Olives” by Youqing Wang (2017)

 

LETTER PERFECT
by Alice N. Persons

~ for Dennis Camire

let us praise O
so round, friendly,
the circle with no opening
a letter of distinction:
Ovid, Odysseus, Ozymandias
of odd instruments,
oboe and ocarina
traveler to exotic places — the
Orient, Odessa, Opalocka, Oz.
Imagine the peculiar all-O diet:
okra, olives, oatmeal, Oreos, oranges,
osso buco, or oolong tea!
The natural world would greatly miss O —
that ocelot in the oleander,
the owl perched in an oak
and the osprey winging over the orchard,
where an opossum feigns sleep.
Some O names make us laugh —
Ophelia Butt, Olive Oyl, Paddy O’Furniture,
Oprah as Orca
and think of the great Oscars —
Wilde, Levant, Peterson, Meyer, and
the sleek golden Hollywood prize.
Where would sexy writing be without
Oral, orgasm, onyx and opal, the story of O?
O, most perfect letter,
you contain so much that is important —
and best of all, you are always
in love.

~ from Never Say Never (Moon Pie Press, 2004)

 

by Clover Robin

 

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