For a fun twist on an ABC book, read Mike Lester’s A is for Salad. Watch puzzled kindergarteners or first graders as you read, and see how long it takes for them to catch on to the book’s hook. The illustrations are key, as you can see from the cover.
Animals that are difficult to identify are given signs in the pictures, such as “Narwhal back at 1:00” for “N is for lunch”. Kids are just getting into the story pattern when Lester throws in a wrench with “I can’t figure out what Q is for. Can you?” which brings on more laughs for the poor little quail with six signs pointing to him.
A follow up activity is writing a farcical letter to Mr. Lester, telling him that he made some mistakes and correcting them for him. For example, start children off with something like Dear Mr. Lester, Although we all loved your book, A is for Salad, we think you meant that A is for alligator, and b is for beaver…” Having children write out the list of “corrections” is a fun way to review beginning sounds, practice handwriting and letter writing.