Today we hear from Helen…
A Little Book of Alliterations by Felix Arthur and Jenny Capon
I wasn’t sure what to make of this book when we first received it, so I put it on one side while we began the other two that arrived at the same time. I still can’t decide what category of book to put it into – it’s certainly not a story, I suppose it’s a kind of reference book which is also entertaining. Arranged alphabetically, it contains an alliterative sentence for each letter of the alphabet, plus one each for the digraphs ch, sh and th. The sentences themselves are fun (Claude the cockroach could consume countless crunchy carrots) and are enhanced by an illustration on the opposite page.
After a few days, I discovered that Erin had been looking at it herself. She can’t read yet but has been doing phonics at school and was using the book to identify things in the pictures which started with each sound. When we read the words, we discovered that on many of the pages there are other things included in the picture which begin with the sound in addition to the words from the alliteration, e.g. the “person” mentioned by name in the alliteration often turns out to be an animal beginning with the same sound (for instance in Chunky Charlie cheerily chewed chips and cheddar cheese, Chunky Charlie is a chimp). This means that the book encourages children to consider other words which begin with (or contain) the sound in question, as well as those used in the sentence, and also means that children who are not quite reading can use the pictures on their own to “read” a mini-story containing all these words.
We would thoroughly recommend this little book for children of primary school age (it might be a bit difficult for pre-schoolers), perhaps as a stocking-filler or something, as it definitely fits in with the synthetic phonics approach to reading currently taught in schools. You can have a good laugh over the sentences and the pictures and talk about the language (some of the words used for the purposes of alliteration might need explaining, e.g. “available“,“utterly”, etc). There is definitely more to get out of it than just reading the sentences and, even when the book has been put aside, it could well spark off a game for inventing your own alliterative sentences which a wide age range of children would enjoy. My only criticism would be that it doesn’t include more of the digraphs from the synthetic phonics syllabus, such as oo or ee. However, the final page invites you to invent your own alliterations and submit them at a website, so perhaps I should have a go!
Thanks Helen, and thanks to Inside Pocket Publishing for sending it to us.