S is for Smiling Sunrise from WordsBright: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Although my kids are getting older and my youngest is nine, I love seeing little kids’ books. And my youngest still enjoys a good picture book now and then even though she can read chapter books. So I was glad to have the opportunity to review S is for Smiling Sunrise, a unique new ABC book, with the Schoolhouse Crew.

We received S is for Smiling Sunrise by Vick Wadhwa. The book is published by WordsBright. WordsBright is a small, independent publishing company in California. They are committed to publishing books that are fun and educational and S is for Smiling Sunrise is their first book. We received a hard backed copy of the book.  There is also a PDF lesson plan on the site, designed to help teachers of K-3rd grade students use this book, and there is a page of teaching tips for preK children as well. There is also a song from the rhymes in the book that can be downloaded for free on the site.
Because I was reading this book to older kids- ages 9 and 11- I did not use it as a teaching tool with the lesson plans. I did, however, look at the lesson plans to see how they complemented the text. With my girls, I read the book aloud. We talked about the book and what we thought. And we listened to the rhyme song on CD.

The book is an alphabet book. For every letter there is a word, a short rhyme, and an accompanying illustration. The theme of the book is “An Alphabet Book of Goodness, Beauty, and Wonder” so the words are supposed to tie in with that theme. Words like “artwork”, “ocean”, and “park” are there along with words like “tasty”, “words”, and “zebras”. Some of the words seem to make more sense for the theme than others. And some of the short “rhymes” actually rhyme, while others don’t seem to.

The words used to illustrate the letters in the book are creative ones, not just your basic little child’s vocabulary. It can be used to introduce some unfamiliar words and concepts. And for little ones who enjoy hearing a story again and again, it will be nice to see that the words begin to be understood and used as they hear the book again and again.

If I were using this with little people, I think the lesson plan could be of value. It has some general suggestions to follow as you read the rhymes. It also has information for each rhyme- questions to ask, concepts to discuss, and some suggested activities. If you wanted to cover a letter a day with little ones, you could do that and use the lesson plan as a guide. I almost think the book works better that way because many of the words and concepts introduced don’t seem to have much in common or to really flow. If you chose one a day, this wouldn’t be as noticeable.

Although the book’s words look at “goodness, wonder, and beauty” it isn’t specifically from a Christian worldview. But there are, of course, many places where you could talk about the wonder of creation or of God’s gifts to us or of how we are God’s special creations. For example, in the “D” rhyme, the words are “dawn” and “day.” The kids are instructed to “…always say “Thank you!” But there isn’t any really and indication of who to say thank you to. Of course you can use this as an opportunity to talk about how God makes each day new and how we thank Him for our day. I mentioned this even with my big girls.

Although this book wasn’t a great fit for me, I like the idea of introducing a variety of concepts through the ABCs instead of just sticking to the basic words that many books for very young kids use. I also like the suggested lesson plans that can help you to talk about each rhyme individually with ideas for each. But the rhymes seem a little forced (and sometimes not rhyming), and the words don’t all seem to follow any theme or pattern.

You can learn more, including watching an introduction video, on the website here, and you can connect with the book’s author on Facebook here.

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You can read what other Schoolhouse Crew reviewers thought about S is for Smiling Sunrise by clicking below.

Wordsbright Review

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