A Is for ART

Common Sense Media says

Abstract art + alphabetic alliteration = amazing ABC book.





What parents need to know

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this isn't their ordinary alphabet book. Sophisticated readers, as well as the youngest, will find something of interest here, and nothing inappropriate.

Parents say

Kids say

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What's the story?

From A to Z, each page presents an imaginative and original work of abstract art, either a sculpture, painting, and collage, as well as a list of witty, and sometimes challenging, alliterative words to demonstrate the sound.

Is it any good?


If you're looking for a simple ABC book for a young reader, this may not be the right choice for you. But, if you want something original and different, a more sophisticated, avant-garde ABC book with amazing artwork, clever text, and language that will sweeten even a wordsmith's vocabulary, look no further. A IS FOR ART delivers what it promises: an abstract look at the alphabet, and it's for everyone.

Award winning author/illustrator Stephen T. Johnson is on an artistic quest. Of course, he wants kids to know the alphabet and learn to love language but, more importantly, he wants them to think about and question art. As he says in his notes, his "literal abstractions" are an attempt to transform ideas into the visual, and to inspire the imaginations of all his readers to do the same.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how each illustration is a piece of art, and each list of words is poetic and playful. What do you like about each painting, collage, or sculpture? What does it say about the letter it represents? Can you find the letter in the artwork? What about the words? How do they sound alike, and what do they mean? How do you think the author/illustrator got the idea to make this book? How is this different from any other alphabet book you have read? How is it the same?

Book details

Author:Stephen T. Johnson
Illustrator:Stephen T. Johnson
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Publication date:September 9, 2009
Number of pages:40
Publisher's recommended age(s):5 - 7
Read aloud:5
Read alone:7

This review of A Is for ART was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 3 year old Written byKathysara July 8, 2009

Not your typical alphabet book

My son loves the alphabet so I picked this up after seeing it reviewed in the New York Times. If you want to introduce your child to the alphabet and the concept of abstract art, then this is the book for you. The artwork is interesting and although the language is definitely above the toddler level, it's great for those of us reading the book to our kids.
What other families should know
Educational value
Parent of a 24 year old Written bymic0195 April 19, 2009

the7 yearold club

ok this is a book about 7 yearolds.


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