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Letter Buddies Starters Book Set Review by Jane Donovan

By Libby Larrabee
Cavallo Publishing

Cavallo Publishing brings us a sturdy little alphabet letter book set, Letter Buddies Starters. The 24 books are bright and full-color, and each book is eight pages long. Each letter has its own book except for X, Y, and Z. They share one book. Q is also presented with U, but U also has its own book. An example of one of the books follows.

Page one is the intro page and gives the title, Help Happy H, along with a picture of a cartoon "H" with a cowboy hat and a big smile. "Happy H" is in a photo with a pretty brown horse in front of a barn.

Page two has a photo of H looking into a mirror asking himself, "Where is my hair?" The "h" is in red to set it apart.

Page three has a photo of H in a living room looking around for his hat as he asks, "Where is my hat?" Again, and throughout the book, the "h" is in red.

Page four finds us back at the barn with H looking for his horse that is hiding behind the barn door. H asks, "Where is my horse?"

On page five, H is in the field with a puzzled look on his face as he asks, "Where is my hammer?"

Page six is also in the field with H accidentally injuring himself with his hammer in front of the horse. He asks, "Where is my hand?"

Page seven finds H driving a tractor in front of his house while his hat flies off. He asks, "Where is my house? Help!"

Page eight is the activity page. At the top you are instructed to "Create the next page of this book!" The first question involves three pictures, avocado, strawberry, and hamburger. It asks you, "Which object has the same beginning sound as the word horse?" Question two tells you to "Complete this sentence with the object you chose: Where is my ______________?" Question three instructs us to "Write the sentence on a piece of paper." And question four coaches us to "Draw a picture that matches the sentence you wrote." The book ends with, "Congratulations! You have created your own page for this book!"

The website says that these books are supposed to be used as a "follow-up to our popular Letter Buddies Letter Books! Using the same vocabulary, the Starters series places each word within the context of a sentence." While I can see this as a helpful tool, and the books are an immediate draw with little children, the price of the set at $55.00 seems somewhat out of balance with what you would be accomplishing with your child.

Product review by Jane Donovan, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August 2008