Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Call for a New Alphabet 
 by Jef Czekaj

A delightful book the centers around the thoughts and wishes of the letter ‘X’—who is tired of being at the end of the alphabet!  

Book Talk
‘X’ comes up with an elaborate (and humorous)  scheme to convince the other letters to rearrange the alphabet so that he can be in the front of the order.  It is finally decided to take a vote of all the letters.  The night before the vote, ‘X’ has a dream outlining what life would be for him if he were another letter.  He is surprised with the not-so-wonderful consequences, wakes up and casts the deciding vote!

Czekaj embeds humor in the text as well as the illustrations.  The text reads as half narrative, half beginning graphic novel adding to the enjoyment of the story.  Czekaj also cleverly introduces interesting ways that various letters are used in the English language, as well as sprinkling in a few grammar and spelling rules.

A sample of Czekaj’s writing style:
"I always end up at the back of a book with a picture of an x-ray and a xylophone.  Why don't more words start with me? Why am I always third to the last?" asked X."

Despite the word ‘alphabet’ in the title—this is not an ABC book!  Layered with humor and spelling information, it makes a perfect text for grades K-2 to enjoy.  Grades 3-5 could easily use this as a mentor text for writing workshop to model different forms of writing (a well as a fun reminder of some pesty spelling rules!).

Suggested Ways to Use as a Mentor Text:
Genre: Beginning Graphic Novel / Fantasy hybrid
Writing Workshop: Opinion Writing
Reading Workshop Strategies:  Predicting, Questioning, Summarizing, Fluency
Grammar: Spelling Rules

Jef Czekaj’s website: http://www.czekaj.com/
Jef Czekaj’s blog: http://blog.czekaj.com/

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