Review -

Dr. Debra Lindo


By Dr. Debbra Lindo
Superintendent, Emeritus

As a retired English teacher, Superintendent of Schools, parent and grandparent I
was delighted to be introduced to Dr. Grace Carroll’s new children’s book series on
literary devices. The first book in the series, Akira’s Animal Alphabet Alliterations,
disrupts one’s thinking about the perceived difficulty children might have in concept
mastery, particularly in grasping complex literary terms. Au contraire, this book
series makes reading and learning truly enjoyable.

The Oxford dictionary defines alliteration as, “the occurrence of the same letter or
sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words, as in, “Peter Piper
picked a peck of pickled peppers…” Alliteration, bar none, is one of the most
commonly used, yet misunderstood literary devices in the English language. It is
difficult to teach so it seems appropriate that Dr. Carroll would start with it. From A-
Z, the animals that little Akira, who by the way, is not just cute but smart,
encounters, i.e., the Lazy Lion Lounging to the Tyrannosaurus Thinking Triangle with
their colorful and amusing illustrations helps children to not only smile but make
meaning out of complex language and terms. As an educator and administrator, I
would encourage all elementary schools in the country to adopt this series. It sets
the tone for the new 21 st Century critical thinking skills that are part of the Common
Core State Standards (CCSS).

There have been multiple studies written on the importance of early literacy,
phonemic awareness, and language acquisition. These skills have become predictors
of reading comprehension in a child’s later school years. Preschoolers and
elementary school-age children, who are read to early, read, write and listen better
in school. They are also more likely to develop as strong readers in later years.
Dr. Carroll has latched onto something even more important than reading for
reading’s sake and that is the big idea of making meaning out of sounds, words, and
symbols. I have two elementary school-age granddaughters-one reads incredibly
well, yet (thus far), finds little joy in the written word. In fact, she sees it more as a
utility or tool to get her other homework done. Rather than something she should
love. Contrast that with her sister, a bookworm, who is a voracious reader, who can’t
put a book down once she starts reading it. After examining a few pages of Akira’s
Animal Alphabet Alliterations, my granddaughter had her own aha moment. She
said, “Ogee, is the Wicked Witch of the West an alliteration too? In that instant, she
got the significance of a complex literary term and device! We played around
creating a few more alliterations of our own and my “utility reader granddaughter”
joined in the fun. Look out simile and metaphor; with no hyperbole intended, this is
a Super-fantastic book. I am looking forward to collecting the entire series. As I
gobble up goo gobs of goodies in the department store for Christmas, Kwanzaa, Eid, and
Hanukkah, this book will definitely be in the grandkids holiday stockings. If I were
you, I would Run, Don’t Walk, to be one of the first on the block to share this
incredible book series with children I love.