Monday, June 6, 2011

A Call for a New Alphabet

Spelling has never been my strong point. So I sympathize with beginning readers learning the rules for the first time. Silent letters, the ways that plurals are formed, i before e except after c, the list goes on and on. Luckily, Jef Czekaj has written and illustrated a fun primer to help make learning the rules behind the alphabet fun.

The letter X gets the ball rolling. "It was an average day in Alphabet City. S was soaking up some sun, bearded B was bouncing a ball, R was rolling-skating, and there was P in the pool. Every letter was happy and content. Every letter, that is, except for X." The malcontent letter is tired of being among the final three of the alphabet.  He's tired of rules. He demand a new order of the alphabet and raises enough of a stink that the other letters agree to a vote the following day.

After a night beset with disturbing dreams about the downside the other letters face (Y never knowing if it's a consonant or vowel, the stress of overworked E, and the pitfalls of pronunciations that vary), X wisely decides that the alphabet order is fine as is.

Czekaj (author of Hip & Hop, Don't Stop among many others) draws the personified letters of Alphabet City in his usual wacky style with lots of clever details. The P in the pool wears a pirate hat, I holds an ice cream cone, G is drawn as a ghost, and so on. Kids are sure to appreciate the antic, fast-moving pace of this graphic storybook. And they might even learn a spelling rule or two, helpful for whenever their online Spell Checker fails them.

A Call for a New Alphabet
by Jef Czekaj
Charlesbridge, 48 pages
Published: 2011

Today's Nonfiction Round-up is at Practically Paradise.


  1. Sounds like a very clever and cute book. It certainly is right on the mark since it can be quite difficult learning to read and spell. English is a difficult language to master. My DD has dyslexia and CAPD, so reading and spelling are a challenge for her.

    Successfully Spelling our Way Through the World

  2. This sounds awesome! I'll have to find it for my pre-kindergartener.

  3. I read this one recently. It would be fun to pair it with Laurie Keller’s THE SCRAMBLED STATES OF AMERICA. I love Jef Czejak’s sense of humor. His book trailers (and books) are hilarious. Have you seen the trailer for CAT SECRETS? Good stuff.