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A New Take on ABCs - S is for Smiling Sunrise: An Alphabet Book of Goodness, Beauty, and Wonder Review by Jennifer Allen

By Vick Wadhwa
501-I S. Reino Rd #365,
Newbury Park, CA - 91320

S is for Smiling Sunrise is a bold and beautifully illustrated picture book written by a pharmaceutical scientist and father. He set out to write some rhymes that would be fun for his toddler daughter after finding that many of the alphabet books they owned bored him. His hope was to create something inspirational for himself and something educational for his daughter.
This book is geared for the preschool set and is not your average alphabet book. The book begins with the letter A and shares a rhyme for each letter of the alphabet. The pages are visually stimulating and tout the uppercase and lowercase letter along with a keyword for each letter at the top of each page. One example is the letter “M is for Moon.” The rhyme goes on to explain how the merry moon glows love all night and ends with a blessing to the reader for sweet dreams. The concepts discussed are interesting and informative with underlying messages of goodwill and kindness. This 32-page hardcover children’s picture book retails for $16.95 and is recommended for ages 3 and up. Ten percent of the net profits from this book go to support education and health improvement projects for disadvantaged children.

The WordsBright website also features a free parent/teacher’s guide and an MP3 download of the book set to music. The parent’s guide was a concise explanation of how to use the book with your child. The ideas were helpful, but I felt that most of the information was what most parents would figure out on their own. However the teacher’s guide was seven pages of great ideas to help you expand your knowledge as you study each letter individually. Concepts of each rhyme were explained, vocabulary words were highlighted, comprehension questions were included and enrichment activities were suggested. I will definitely refer to the teacher’s guide again in the future.

I read and re-read this book with my four-year old daughter and she really enjoyed the rhymes and vivid illustrations. One or two of the rhymes seemed a bit awkward, but overall, the meter of the rhymes was pleasant. We listened to the book set to music and thought that the tune was engaging. We will incorporate this book into our letter of the week curriculum for preschool this fall. I plan to use the MP3 download as a weekly review of the alphabet and use the enrichment ideas from the teacher’s guide for inspiration as we focus on individual letters each week. If you are looking for a picture book to add to your preschool shelf, consider picking up a copy of this inspirational title.

Product review by Jennifer Allen, The Old Schoolhouse© Magazine, LLC, May, 2014