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New book, "Animal Stackers," is delightful and clever

By Evan & Debbie Gardner

Preschooler & Mom/PRIME Editor

"Aunt Alice and Mums warned me


To make crumbs."

from Animal Stackers

Evan and I haven't had much fodder for review lately it seems as the school year winds down the stream of new children's books arriving at Reminder Publications has slowed to a trickle.

But recently we did have the opportunity to read and read and read a delightful new alphabet book called Animal Stackers.

Needless to say, this whimsical pairing of the ABCs, simple poetry and easy-to-learn early reading words has quickly become Evan's new favorite.

Penned by critically-acclaimed New York City novelist Jennifer Belle and illustrated by New Hampshire children's book artist David McPhail, both the language and the artwork in this clever little book evoked for me the flavor of Lewis Carroll's childhood classic, Alice in Wonderland.

Evan has loved reading the stacks of letters to make familiar words such as ANT and new words such as QUAHOG and RAVEN as we've explored the world of fun and simple poems together.

His favorite poem is about keeping the elephant. Mine is about the flame-breathing, gas-passing Chinese dragon.

As the mother of a soon-to-be-kindergartner, I recommend this book as a great way to introduce kids to poetry this summer, and a fun way to review letters, words and early reading skills.

Plus, the charming, Victorian-style drawings and soothing use of color will make this book a fun thing to look at on a hot day.

As for Evan, right now he delights in reading down the stacks of letters, then proudly telling me what each stack of letters spells.

Locally, the hard-cover Animal Stackers, priced at $15.99, is available at Edwards Books, 1500 Main St., Tower Square, in downtown Springfield, and at Kiddly Winks, 801 Williams St., Longmedow.