Alphabet Explosion! Search and Count from Alien to Zebra Book Poster Image

Alphabet Explosion! Search and Count from Alien to Zebra



Artistic alphabet search is clever but tricky.

What parents need to know

Educational value

There are lots of objects that start with certain letters to search for on each page -- 22 As, for starters. It also brings up parts of speach, since not all the things kids search for are nouns.

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there's nothing objectionable in this book, but its alphabet searching game can be frustrating and too tricky at times, especially for its target audience of beginning readers.

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

The book begins with instructions on how to play the game, what to count, and what not to count. After warning the reader that the game is tricky, pages present each letter of the alphabet with the challenge of finding a specific number of items starting with that letter. The answers are given at the back of the book.

Is it any good?


More an offbeat alphabet search game than a story, this book will test even the oldest readers. Young kids may be overwhelmed with the challenge of finding 22 A's or 45 S's. They may even find it impossible since not all the words are nouns, which can be hard for younger kids to understand. The mix of sounds -- hard and soft "c" sounds, for example -- may confuse beginning readers.

The brightly colored, playful illustrations in acrylics and spray paint on watercolor paper are inventive and inviting. The cartoon-like creatures will make kids want to play the game. But clever pictures may not make up for the obtuseness of some images; it's a little too ingenuous for its own good. Thank goodness a list of answers is presented at the back of the book.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about finding the answers on each page and how to not get too frustrated if you don't find as many A's or Q's as are suggested by the author. To help young readers, you can talk about the beginning sounds of words and the difference between the name of a letter and its sound. Since kids will have to search for nouns, verbs, and adjectives, you can also discuss the different jobs of those words. For example, after finding the zipper on the Z page, parents might help lead their child to the next Z by asking what the zebra is doing -- "zipping."

Book details

Author:John Nickle
Illustrator:John Nickle
Book type:Non-Fiction
Publisher:Schwartz & Wade
Publication date:October 31, 2006
Number of pages:40
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 7

This review of Alphabet Explosion! Search and Count from Alien to Zebra was written by

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


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent of a 5 year old Written bymadsmooney1214 April 6, 2012

alphabet explosion

What other families should know
Educational value


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?