This dazzling offering from Tana Hoban, an award-winning photographer and creator of many beloved concept books for young children, is a bonus: two books in one! 26 Letters invites readers to journey through the alphabet, with each letter depicted in both uppercase and lowercase and accompanied by a bright object to identify. Each color-saturated item stands out against the crisp white background, and while some of the objects are predictable (Kk is a kangaroo, and Xx a xylophone), many are less so (Ss is a seahorse; Ll a lock), ensuring a nice, interactive vocabulary lesson for the youngest children.
Turn the book over to find the equally engaging 99 Cents, a clever exercise in counting to 99 — by ones to 30, by fives to 50, by tens to 90, then by ones to 99 — and in combining coins. One, two, three, four pennies start things off, but 5 is where the real fun begins: the row of pennies is joined by a solitary nickel. By 10 a third picture is added, demonstrating that a dime is equivalent to two nickels or ten pennies; by 99, children will be eagerly adding up the change to check the book's accuracy and raiding parental pocketbooks to attempt extra groupings of their own.
Though its endless array of teaching possibilities makes it ideal for inclusion in a preschool library, the wordless fun of this picture book invites children to peruse it (and learn) on their own as well.