by Debra Frasier
Beach Lane Books (publisher)Copyright June 2010
Recommended Age: 5 and up
Review copy purchased for my classroom library
I am always looking for new picture books that I can add to my collection of alphabet books. Yesterday when I was at our local independent book store, Nonesuch Books, I stumbled upon this new book by Debra Frasier. I am a huge fan of her book Miss Alaineus: A Vocabulary Disaster so I was certain this book would be another good buy and I was right! Debra talks about how the idea for this book came as result of her fascination with the distinctive lettering found in photographs she had taken over the years during annual visits to state fairs. Bursting with bright, bold illustrations of favorite fair elements like dill pickles and Ferris wheels and midway games, she as succeeded in creating an alphabet-exploring adventure like no other. This is a concept book with quite a bit to offer and will encourage many re-reads just because there's so much to look at. Young readers can spend lots of time on each picture counting letters, naming all the different items and pointing out the colors. Older readers will enjoy recounting their own visits to the a state or county fair. The letters depict not only the hurly burly -- F is for Ferris wheel, R is for roller coaster -- but also the food -- L is for large lemonade, C is for cotton candy -- and the exhibits -- Q is for quilts, J is for judging. In addition to the single word, every page is also arrayed with extra letters (A has over 80, X over 100) to study and enjoy. And what is Z for? Why Zucchini, of course, and also for zzzzzzz . . . at the end of a very busy day.
Not everything matches up. For example, letter E stands for "Eat Everything" but features pictures of corn dogs, popcorn and pretzels just to name a few. The letter K stands for "Kids" and features two kids showing an animal and winning a ribbon. However, because I like the use of environmental print and depiction of so many different font forms of each letter, it wasn't hard to look past that and see the great potential this alphabet book has.
Check out the A Fabulous Fair Alphabet web page for a fun game card you can print and take with you when visiting a fair near you this summer. There are also color pages, a song, and a fun 3 minute video by Debra about the fun of exploring words at the fair!