Shaped like a house, this fold-out, lift-the-flap, ABC book is bright and inviting. Charming illustrations (by Ingela P. Arrhenius) — an alligator with a beret watering his window box, a fox zipping by on a scooter, a waving frog wearing a bow tie, and a smiling mother pushing her baby dog in a stroller — give a feel of a quaint neighborhood street in Europe.
Aardvark, Bear, Cat, Dog, Elephant, Frog, Goose, Hippo — each page, written by Jonathan Emmett, features two flaps to open to reveal an animal or two engaged in some activity. “N is for Newt who needs a newspaper,” for example, shows the newt at a newsstand. “R is for Rabbit, who runs in and out” and we see a rabbit waiter busily serving diners. A vulture vacuums, the goose grows a rose, etc.
But for X? Open the flap and it says, “X is for Xirrgle, x-raying a goat.” What’s a Xirrgle? A Google search won’t yield an answer, as literal parents will immediately find. The illustration is the clue. It’s a one-eyed alien doctor creature. It’s all fodder for discussion with your preschooler, as are some of the storefronts, such as Yackety Zack’s beauty salon and the Incredible Jokes building.
When you’re finished going page by page, fully stretch open the entire book, flip it over and you’ll have more than eight feet of play on this charming Alphabet Street.
Ann Oldenburg ©2020 Parents’ Choice
Ann Oldenburg, lecturer and assistant director of the journalism program at Georgetown University, writes about television, food, workplace issues and other pop culture topics. A University of Florida Gator with a degree in journalism, she began her career at The Washington Post and spent more than two decades with USA TODAY. She and her husband have three sons and live in McLean, Virginia.