Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

8: An Animal alphabet

8: An Animal alphabet

Elisha Cooper
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 4 to 6
Scholastic, 2015   ISBN: 978-0545470834

Elisha Cooper loves the number eight. He feels that it is “great” because of its roundness, and because it is not too small or too big. In other words it is “just right.” As eight is his favorite number he has decided to feature it in this wonderful animal-centric alphabet book.

   For every letter of the alphabet Elisha gives us a selection of animals to look at whose names begin with that letter. Some of the animals that we see will be familiar to us, while others will be newcomers whom we know nothing about. One of the animal species featured on the page will be pictured eight times. After all, Elisha wants to make sure that his favorite number gets to be a part of this animal alphabet journey.

  For example, on the page for the letter A we are presented with a spread covered with pictures of animals whose names begins with an A. An aardvark looks out at us from the page with a rather puzzled expression on its face. A large anteater trundles along with its nose to the ground, and a very large alligator grins at us toothily. On the page there is also an armadillo, an albatross, a very fluffy alpaca, an antelope, and eight ants.

   On the page for the letter H we encounter a very large hippo, a horse, a heron, a hedgehog, a hyena, a hamster, a hawk, and a delightful collection of eight jewel-like hummingbirds, each one of which is unique.

   At the back of the book the author offers his readers delightful snippets of information about every one of the animal species that appears in the book. Among other things children will learn that armadillos spend around eighteen hours a day napping, and frogs can breathe through their skin.

  This is the kind of book that young animal lovers will enjoy exploring. It is packed with wonderfully expressive illustrations to look at (and to count), and it offers up facts that children will appreciate and, in all likelihood, remember.