Artist Arlene Alda

Reading My Library
For my second time in two weeks, I am forced to squelch my natural dislike of counting books and to recommend yet another “1,2,3” book. For this last batch of children’s picture books from my library reading challenge included yet another counting book–and a surprisingly good one, at that.

Arlene Alda&039;s 1 2 3
Arlene Alda’s 1 2 3: What do you see? is not your typical counting book–but it is typical of Arlene Alda’s artistic and imaginative writing and photography.

The text on each page is simple–just the numbers 1 through 10 with a particular number highlighted. But the photography is spectacular. Alda “finds” numbers in unexpected places–like the 3 found in the banana peel on the front cover. The book goes from 1 to 10 and back again for a total of two photos per number–from sources as diverse as a seashell, a flamingo, and the shadow of a bike.

Arlene Alda’s A B C: What do you see? takes the same tack, only with letters instead of numbers. Alda finds an A in a sawhorse, a B in a cut apple, a C in shrimp in a saute pan–and so on and so forth.

I marvel at Alda’s imaginative eye and have started to look for letters and numbers in my world too–Is that a T I see in that mailbox, centered on its post?

Alda continues to share her gift of creative sight in Here a Face, There a Face, where she finds faces in all sorts of organic and inorganic items. The text in this title is spare, but appropriate. “Looking up, Glancing down, Staring straight ahead. On a pot, in a pan, even on some bread.”

Did You Say Pears?

Did You Say Pears? takes on a slightly different flavour, exploring homonyms and homophones through words and photos. Alda poses a grand question throughout the book: “If [blank] is [blank] and [blank] is [blank], don’t you agree that pairs could be pears?” Some of the homonyms (words that have at least two different meanings) that Alda uses include: horns, pants, and glasses. Her homophones (words that sound alike but have different spellings and meanings) include blew/blue, flower/flour, and (of course) pairs/pears.

I am thoroughly enthralled with Alda’s writing and her photography. She is truly an artist–one who sees the world differently and invites her readers to see the world through her eyes. Check these books out next time you’re at your local library!

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