Monday, August 27, 2012

Word Play 2

Last Monday I posted a recommendation for Word Images by Ji Lee.  This week I’m sticking with the whole playing with words and letters theme with Alphabeasties and Other Amazing Types by Sharon Werner and Sarah Forss.

This is not your average alphabet book. Besides each letter being represented in animal-form, constructed from the first letter of its name the reader is treated to an exploration of font, as well.

For example, ‘A’ is for alligator.  The alligator is made up of many letter ‘A’s, both in upper and lower case.  Now think about alligators for a moment.  What are some of its characteristics? The font chosen is Volta EF.  The ‘A’, especially the capital ‘A’ when used to outline the alligator shape is rather spiky or bumpy sort of like its skin.  The peak of the ‘A’ is also reminiscent of the snapping jaws of the alligator.  We can get a very good sense about the nature of this animal from the type of font selected and how it is arranged.

Along the bottom of each page is a bit of further exploration of the letter ‘A’ in different typefaces.  Instead of a pointy peak, the top might be rounded bringing to mind an arch or an alien.

‘E’ is for elephant and as rendered in Cooper Black font, we get the sense that there is a certain blobby roundness to this elephant.  But sharpen up some of those corners and tilt it to the right and maybe your ‘e’s are looking to escape.

A few of the pages have extra bits that fold out adding to the whole artistic feel of the book.  The octopus has a couple of wavy tentacles that must be accommodated and the unicorn definitely needs extra space as it rears up to shake out its very sumptuous mane.  Whoa, Baby!

Some of the fonts are pretty typical and can be found on most word processing packages such as Helvetica Rounded, Goudy Italic, and Bodoni Poster.  Some I’m unfamiliar with like Wave Weekend, Giddyup or Filosofia.  They’re all fantastic.

There are lots of playful bits to this book that really bring home the fanciful nature of word play and design.  The authors encourage kids to think up some of their own fonts to convey or enhance their writing. Like Word Images, it encourages us to think a little more about the attributes of a word and display it in a very creative way.

I would recommend Alphabeasties for students Kindergarten to grade 9. Upper grades will get more out of this for book design elements and ideas for using fonts.

Today's Nonfiction Monday event is being held at Simply Science.  Check out other blogs to learn about additional nonfiction children's literature.


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