The idea for my story, alphabet adventure, was inspired by two pre-school children I know very well. The first child, Robert Martin, is the son of my Scholastic editor, Bonnie Verburg. At three years old, Robert had a passion for picture books and intensely enjoyed sharing his passion with his mom several times during the day and before bed every night.
There was nothing but excitement when his literary mom brought out a stack of books, and he learned his alphabet at an early age. Still, he absolutely hated alphabet books. They were boring. For Robbie, “A is for apple” was like being forced to take banana-flavored antibiotics-- he refused to read them. It seems that Robert (like many young children his age) believed that books are supposed to be fun. Books should be a story, not force you to be drilled about letters.
The other child who greatly influenced me to write alphabet adventure was my three-year-old niece, Claire Roy. Unlike Robbie, Claire adored her alphabet books, and with the help of her mother she had learned to correctly identify every single capital letter in the alphabet. She was very proud of her accomplishment and enjoyed showing everyone how smart she was. Then, it was time for Claire’s first day of school, and, much to her dismay, she discovered that there was another whole set of letters that she did not even know about. This new alphabet was called the “lowercase alphabet,” and it didn’t look a thing like the alphabet she had learned. After school Claire was confused and upset so she confronted her mother. “Mom,” she said, “there are two alphabets, and you taught me the wrong one!”
In alphabet adventure I tried to tell a lowercase alphabet story that was so much fun and so engaging children would never realize they were actually learning something. From the reports I’m getting from both of their moms, Claire and Robert are giving alphabet adventure two thumbs up!