Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Farmer's Alphabet

A Farmer's Alphabet

Mary Azarian
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 7
David R Godine, 2004   ISBN: 0879233974

All kinds of wonderful alphabet books are being published these days. Many are no longer simply tools to help children learn their ABC’s. Instead they endeavor to teach children about a variety of subjects. By contrast, this alphabet book harkens back to a simpler time when alphabet books truly were a tool that parents and teachers used to teach their youngsters the alphabet. With its black and white woodcut print illustrations, and its one-word-per-page format, this is a book that has an old-fashioned feel to it that will delight both young readers and adults who like to collect alphabet books.

For every letter of the alphabet the award winning author/illustrator presents her audience with a scene from farm life. This picture is accompanied by a word, and the appropriate letter of the alphabet in upper and lower cases. Some of the words that are chosen are what you would expectk, for example B is for barn and C is for Cow. Others are quite creative and amusing. For example Y is for Yawn, which is very appropriate when you consider how hard farming folk have to work!

At the back of the book an “Artist’s Note” explains how Mary Azarian creates her pictures and what she was trying to do when she began working on this book. She wanted to “avoid quaintness and concentrate instead on activities or objects of proven practical relevance to modern life.” This she does to perfection.