Parents' Guide to

A Helpful Alphabet of Friendly Objects: Poems

By Mary LeCompte, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 4+

Poetry collection could become a kids' classic.

Book John Updike Poetry 1995
A Helpful Alphabet of Friendly Objects: Poems Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: Not yet rated
Kids say: Not yet rated

This book is a refreshing change from typical children's alphabet or poetry fare. It assumes what most kids already know: To get their attention, you've got to appeal to their imagination and creativity. Any book that likens an icicle to "tiger teeth" and describes a vacuum cleaner as "the nosy old hummer" that "bump-rubs every corner / so every crumb / of dust and fuzz vanishes / into its hum" definitely does just that -- and more.

In addition to the music of Updike's poetry, one read-aloud group loved the photos, abundant images of kids with familiar objects that inspired discussion about the listeners' own experiences. And the endpages, which got almost as much attention as the rest of the book, feature color-block squares with alternating alphabet letters and photos from the book's main pages. At least four members of the audience made a game out of matching the letters to their corresponding objects.

Book Details

  • Author: John Updike
  • Illustrator: David Updike
  • Genre: Poetry
  • Book type: Non-Fiction
  • Publication date: January 1, 1995
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 4 - 7
  • Number of pages: 40
  • Last updated: November 15, 2019

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate