Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Call for a New Alphabet

A Call for a New Alphabet
written and illustrated by Jef Czekaj
(Charlesbridge) 2011
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

The letter X is vexed by a perceived lack of respect. He is tired of being at the rear of the alphabet line and always being pictured with an x ray and a xylophone. X takes to a soapbox and proposes a new alphabet. He provokes the letter community by asking Q if she is weary of being paired with U. An appeal is made to I and E to rethink their relationship with C. Chaos abounds until wise E reads from the Alphabet Constitution, which calls for a vote to determine if a new alphabet is needed. The night before the momentous election, X has difficulty sleeping but eventually drifts off to sleep where he finds in his dreams that perhaps it isn't so bad to be an X.

The English language can be a tricky proposition for anyone trying to read, speak, or write it. With A Call for a New Alphabet, author Jef Czekaj has put a humorous twist on some of the nuances of this language. If Mad magazine was asked to explain grammar and spelling to elementary students, this book would be what they produced. Letter X even has an Alfred E. Neumanesque grin on the cover of the book. It is also a lesson on appreciating what you have. X, after discussions with several of his fellow letters, realizes that his lot in life is not so bad.

This is a great book to use in starting a word study unit at the beginning of the year. It would be a fun way to explain to students why you spend time learning about how language works. 

Check out the hip book trailer by clicking below.


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