Books offer fun ways to learn ABCs

For a child just learning to read, the alphabet can be a strange and daunting code. A backward "b" is actually "d." A capital "Z" looks very much like the lower case "z," but big "R" is nothing like little "r" in appearance. How is one to manage the linguistic hodgepodge we call our alphabet?

These books from the Beaufort County Library collection can help young readers overcome any fear of the alphabet. And, they may just remind the adults who are helping the children, how much fun letters can be.

"Peanut Butter and Jellyfishes: A Very Silly Alphabet Book" by Brian P. Cleary, illustrations by Betsy E. Snyder: If you think that "u" starting "umbrellas unfolding uptown and underpants on an unusual clown" is strange, just think, "e" is for "each evergreen Elvis (as in Presley) potted." Cleary's quirky take on the alphabet is brought to life in the wondrously cute, if somewhat twisted, illustrations of Snyder's. An enjoyable stroll down one of the more unusual roads in alphabet land.

"The Alphabet from Z to A (with Much Confusion on the Way)"by Judith Viorst: As if English weren't confusing enough, Viorst shows us many more of its inconsistencies by turning the whole thing around and starting with "z." Along the way we're reminded that "t" begins words like "two", "too" and "to" but not, oddly, "pterodactyl!" No one said this language was simple, but with an outlook like Viorst's, it can be fun.

"A Apple Pie" by Gennady Spirin: Don't write or call me just to tell me that the title should be "An Apple Pie." It's what it is and that's as simple as the ABC's. Spirin takes a simple apple pie and shows 26 different things that can be done with it. Of course those 26 different things are alphabetical. His Victorian Era pictures are as warm as the apple pie they depict.

"Alphabeasts" by Wallace Edwards: "A is for Alligator awake from a dream."Thus begins this alphabetic voyage which seems like a dream itself. Giraffes carry trays, hippos play violins and octopuses hang from chandeliers. Edwards' illustrations make it almost real and yet other-worldly as if these visions arose from your mind just as you stirred from your afternoon nap. The strangeness will keep the reader's attention, whether the reader be a child or an adult.