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A story of letters and a tale of stories

Luci Hand

Luci Hand

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Updated: February 28, 2013 6:12AM



Letters. Words. Stories. It’s a building process that begins with the letters of the alphabet.

I wonder who invented them. Who decided the order? Why does A come first?

In “Alpha Oops!” Alethea Kontis shows us what happens when Z asks the same question. In this book subtitled “The Day Z Went First” we find the answer.

Z is not happy. He and Zebra are sick of being last in line. They think they should go first for a change. Y agrees that it is time.

The book has the alphabet starting with Z and going backward, using classic examples for the letters.

Then, P speaks up.

He claims that backward or forward, he and others are still caught in the middle. So, next we have a general rearrangement.

H decides he likes his place. Pandemonium reigns. Then F picks two illustrations and that makes V mad. Z is frustrated trying to get them all in a line. U has been in the bathroom and missed the whole thing. Where does she belong?

More mix-ups keep us spinning until finally a line is formed and guess who’s missing? A. She appears with a two-page spread of all kinds of things that start with A including Alphabet. Z admits defeat and after a look at the mixed-up alphabet, our friends are back to normal.

‘Don’t Say Ain’t’

Letters form words. One of the problems kids face is the use of words in dialects and groups that are not acceptable in other contexts.

A book that aptly demonstrates this is “Don’t Say Ain’t” by Irene Smalls.

This takes place in a 1957 African-American neighborhood where the kids use ain’t in their casual language.

Dana’s godmother is all excited as her child has passed an advanced test and is going to be a doctor. Dana is going to a different school where she meets Mrs. Middleton, who wears a suit, high-heeled shoes and gloves.

Mrs. Middleton tells Dana and other children talk like they have “chewing gum in their mouths.” Mrs. Middleton tells her not to use ain’t.

Dana’s old friends fade away and she is lonely and unhappy.

When her teacher visits at home, Dana is floored to hear Mrs. Middleton speaking casually. She realizes that there are two languages, just like there is French and English.

‘Lola Loves Stories’

Words bring us stories. “Lola Loves Stories” by Anna McQuinn introduces us to a young lady whose father takes her to the library on Saturdays. Lola finds some neat and nifty books each time.

Daddy reads the first story about a fairy princess. The next day, Lola is a fairy princess, all dressed up.

On Sunday night, the story Mommy reads is about an amazing journey. On Monday, Lola and her stuffed animal friends take exciting trips.

Tuesday’s story is about friends and Ben comes over to play. We follow her activities until the next Friday and her magic shoes take her back to the library.

We leave wondering what she will be this week. There is no better place to shop than the library.



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