Thursday, March 5, 2015

Take Away the A - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

My critique partner, Stacy Jensen, is the go-to expert on ABC picture books, but I fell in love with this one and didn't see it on the Perfect Picture Book Friday list. So, with apologies to Stacy, here is this week's recommendation.

                                            TITLE: Take Away the A
                                   AUTHOR: Michael Escoffier
                                   ILLUSTRATOR: Kris DiGiacomo
(note: Ms. DiGiacomo's blog is in French!)
Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books, 2014
Intended Age: 3-7 (Amazon) 7-10 (Kirkus)
Themes: Alphabet (with a twist!), Wordplay
Opening lines

Without the A -- the BEAST is the BEST.

Synopsis: Going letter by letter, the book explores word pairs that differ by one letter, showing how one letter changes the meaning of words.

What I like about this book: First, I like the trim size! It's a bit slimmer than many picture books and it's easy to hold open. Second, there is tons of fun in the wry illustrations. The best beast is flanked by a second place seagull and a third place fish-out-of-water
. My favorite spread is the cat whose "plate is too late"-- with a mouse's tail hanging from it's mouth as it tries to look nonchalant. Without seeming didactic, the book highlights the power of letters for readers who are beyond simple ABC book age. C'est merveilleux!
  •  Make a set of letter flashcards and find your own word pairs (when one letter is deleted).
  • A review of this book on the "delightful Children's book" blog notes that the book was first published in French and the word pairs and art had to be redone for English words. Read the review here.
  • Read an interview with the illustrator (in English!) on the Smart Books for Smart kids blog.
This review is part of PPBF (perfect picture book Friday) where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. Along with tons of writing wisdom, she keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. #PPBF


  1. Ooo, I think you just gave me a new French illustrator to interview!

    1. Mais oui, Joanna! I look forward to reading.

  2. This looks like such fun concept book. You must live in the nonfiction section of the library. You really find such interesting, educational and fun books for kids.

    1. Ha! I wish I could live at the library. That would save a LOT of time. But this was in the storybook bins, Pat. Look for it in fiction. There isn't a "story" per se, but there are great character vignettes.

  3. Yes! This needed to be added to the list. Thanks!

  4. Very clever twist on the alphabet. Sounds like fun to read too.

  5. I like the idea of this book. Would be fun to read with the humorous illustrations to match each sentence.

    1. Goes to show that even ABC books can be made fresh!

  6. This is already on my "go find" list.... what a novel idea. And what fun. What a difference just one letter can make!