LitStack Recs: Presidential Summer Reading List & Take Away the A

by Lauren Alwan

Take Away the AAway
Written by Michaël Escoffier
Illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo

I’m on a roll! I don’t know why, but I’ve really been into picture books for kids lately. Perhaps it’s because I long for a simpler time, or that they conjure up fond memories of reading to my (now grown) children when they were small. Or perhaps it’s because others share these titles with me, and I can’t help but pass on the recommendation!
My latest “find” is a delightful offering entitled Take Away the A, written by Michaël Escoffier and illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo. This 2014 picture book will hold the attention of children (and adults!) of all ages with its whimsical and somewhat silly illustrations, but will be especially enjoyed by kids who are just beginning to understand their letters. It’s a wonderfully simple idea: showing how words change when a single letter is removed, and in Take Away the A, it’s presented as something quite fun, as well! “Without the A, the BEAST is the BEST.” “Without the B, the BRIDE goes for a RIDE.” “Without the C, the CHAIR has HAIR.” And so on.

The repetition of the text, “Without the…” helps children effortless concentrate on the words that change, and the charming illustrations will induce laughs at the silliness of plants wearing pants, or a goose, a zebra, an antelope and a wolf sitting around having tea in fancy coats (“four” wearing “fur”, as it were), or snow falling on two confused pigs vacationing on a tropical island (“snow” falling “now”). The book doesn’t try to explain any grammatical or phonetic rules – it simply shows how easy it is for a single letter to change a word into something else.
Yet another lovely picture book that will be enjoyed by kids and parents alike!

—Sharon Browning

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