Earlier this year we did a series of blog posts on concept books, and the first post covered Alphabet books. Basically, alphabet books are designed to help children recognize letters. But alphabet books can do so much more, and that’s what happens in Owls Are Good at Keeping Secrets: An Unusual Alphabet, written by Sara O’Leary and illustrated by Jacob Grant.
An animal is used to represent each letter of the alphabet in upper- and lowercase – so far, nothing new here. What makes this an unusual alphabet book is that each animal is also described as having a particular trait, highlighting something both unique and universal about themselves in a silly, playful way. These are more in tune with the traits of little readers than with the actual animals, as in "Iguanas sometimes get homesick on sleepovers" and "Voles always want just one more book." That is part of the fun and one reason why this is such an endearing picture book. The other reason is Jacob Grant’s illustrations with their simple lines, lots of white space, expressive characters, and limited color palette.
This is such a good read for storytimes and can lead to all kinds of projects, including creating one’s own unusual alphabet book.
Visit your local neighborhood library to find this book and more!