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Smithsonian Alphabet Books:Alphabet of Earth / Alphabet of Insects / Alphabet of Music / Alphabet of Sports

Alphabet of Earth by Laura Gates Galvin
Alphabet of Insects by Barbie Heit Schwaeber
Alphabet of Music by Barbie Heit Schwaeber
Alphabet of Sports by Barbie Heit Schwaeber

353 Main Avenue
Norwalk, CT 06851

Smithsonian Alphabet Books are an educational series for young children published by SoundPrints. Each 12x12 soft-cover book in the series goes through the alphabet letter by letter and includes wonderful illustrations, a rhyme for each letter, a short glossary, an illustrated tear-out poster featuring all letters, and a read-along audio CD. The museum curators at the Smithsonian Institution review each book in the collection before its release to the public, and each book would be great for young toddlers to early elementary age.

Alphabet of Sports features 26 different sports-related terms, such as athlete, hockey, and windsurfing--one for each letter of the alphabet. The rhyme included for each letter is informative and fun! Alphabet of Earth covers weather, science, geography, and more, with terms such as blizzard, kinetic energy, and North Pole. The rhymes in this book not only teach about the world around us but also offer small ways we can help preserve our planet and make a difference! Another neat thing about this book is that the artwork in it was originally made with 100% recycled paper. Alphabet of Insects teaches children about creepy-crawly creatures and flying bugs using the letters of the alphabet. The terms aphids, ladybugs, and velvet ants are just a few that are included. The rhymes in this book talk about the physical characteristics of the insects and their habitats. Finally, Alphabet of Music covers musical instruments, theory terms, and various styles of music, with terms such as allegro, kazoo, and quartet! The rhymes here give not only some information about the topic but a snippet of history where applicable.

My young children and I enjoyed reviewing these books, and each one was fun, colorful, and well illustrated. I appreciated that the people portrayed in the books had a variance of not only skin tone but also nationality! I also like that these books were educational, which is always important to me. And the tear-out posters make great teaching aids. The music on the CDs was sometimes soothing and other times energetic and fun, but it was always tasteful. In addition, the price of $9.95 each is a great value! The Smithsonian Alphabet books get an A+ from me, and I certainly recommend them!

Product review by Dawn Huffmaster, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, January 2010

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