When we received this alphabet book in the mail, my four year old was so excited. Finally, a review product for her! WordsBright is a new independent publishing company that focuses on fun, educational products. They sent us their very first publication, a brightly-colored, hardcover, rhyming picture book titled S is For Smiling Sunrise. The book was written by Vick Wadhwa (a scientist, writer and entrepreneur) for his own child.
When we first opened S if For Smiling Sunrise, my daughter loved the bright-colored pages. Each letter has its own page, unlike some alphabet books where the letters share pages. The pages show both the upper-case and lower-case form of each letter, as well as a headline word that starts with that letter. Every page also has a four-line poem for the letter. It starts A is for ... and then has 3 more rhyming lines to explain the letter. If you're like me and always want to see a book before buying it, you can look inside the book yourself at this link.
The illustrations are medium-sized pictures with colorful borders around the page, and the poem is centered beneath the illustration. Most of the illustrations are graphics designed on the computer, though a few are photographs. This isn't my favorite form of illustration, but my daughter doesn't seem to mind at all. She loves the bright colors of each page.
WordsBright has created a helpful teacher's guide for both the Pre-K ages and the Kindergarten through 3rd grade ages. The guide has suggestions for different ways to engage your child with the book, other than just reading it. It includes suggested discussion questions as well as vocabulary-building tips. You can view the guides at the website (bottom right corner of the page), and download them if they are helpful to you. My daughter always wants to pore over each page of a book and discuss it before moving on anyway, so we didn't need the extra pointers. The fact that the poems are not a continuing story makes that process much easier than with some books.
S is For Smiling Sunrise also has a free mp3 song that sings the entire book. It has simple piano music and one adult singing the rhyming text of the book to a familiar tune. If you have older children, you will want to play the song when they are occupied elsewhere. You will get complaints about it from the older kids if you play it multiple times (ask me how I know). Although it would be tempting to let the mp3 then read the book for you, there are no page-turning signals, so you'd still need to sit with your child and help them move through the book. (You can find the free mp3 download at the bottom of this page.)
Although this isn't my favorite alphabet book, my four year old daughter enjoys it. She has asked to have it read to her multiple times. The bright pages appeal to her, and she enjoys the fact that each page stands alone. It is simple, but that helps keep the focus on teaching the letters and headline words rather than an ongoing story. The book is marked with a suggested retail price of $16.95 and there are several purchasing options listed on the WordsBright website.
You can keep up with Vick Wadhwa on facebook, and also sign up to receive updates on future WordsBright book releases by signing up here.