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A lot to talk about;Children's Books

THE FIRST ALPHABATS PICTURE WORD BOOK. By Paul Sellers. Vista pound;9.99. A look at what is out there for beginner readers

The familiar Alphabats - 52 upper- and lower-case cartoon creatures with arms and legs - teach several reading lessons simultaneously: letter sounds, word recognition and the alphabet. Each page displays the letters of the alphabet, represented as creatures with arms and legs. They inhabit scenes packed with objects and activities, all of which represent both the letter to be learned and its sound. This alphabet is full of words to be identified, both everyday and uncommon, and involves readers in careful looking. There are also hidden things to find and extra objects not labelled - a lot for children to do and to talk about. This could be ideal for a 'big book' session.

Carol Fox is a senior lecturer in primary education at Brighton University

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