S is for Smiling Sunrise (Crew Book Review)

Sunrise Review
With so many alphabet books out there, how do you begin to pick which one to read with your preschooler?  S is for Smiling Sunrise by Vick Wadhwa, the first publication from WordsBright, seeks to stand out from the crowd with a unique approach to the ABCs.

About the Book

Rather than using a typical simple phonetic “A is for apple” approach, S is for Smiling Sunrise focuses on positive concepts of goodness, beauty and wonder.  Each letter has its own page in the hardcover book, complete with colorful, eye-catching illustrations and a rhyme to elaborate on the focus word.

On the WordsBright website there is a free downloadable mp3 with the words of the entire book set to music (using the tune of the “Alphabet Song”).  The website also has two free teacher’s guides available to download with tips for using the book with children in Pre-K and K to 3.  The guide for younger children is fairly short but has helpful suggestions for using the book in a way that grows with your child.  The guide for older children is much more involved, with further explanation, discussion questions, vocabulary, and activity ideas related to each letter and its concept.  (For example, on “J is for Jewelry,” there are suggestions for exploring the idea of inner beauty versus outer beauty, the difference between dreams and goals, an activity of making a necklace or bracelet, etc.)

Our Experience

We try to choose books for our family that glorify God and help our children get to know Him better, and while S is for Smiling Sunrise never mentions God or spiritual matters specifically, many of the concepts it touches on lend themselves to discussions about how God is the ultimate source of beauty and goodness.  Arianna (age 3) loved reading through the book with me and often went back to it to flip through the pages and look at the pictures on her own.  Her attention span isn’t always capable of going through each page in its entirety, but we followed the suggestion in the teacher’s guide to just read the headline words at first.  If she’s really in a cuddly mood I can usually get through the rhymes on about half the letters, but it’s helpful to have the shorter option available.

Though the book is intended to be sung to the tune of the alphabet song, rhythmic purists such as myself might find that difficult.  The rhythm of the words varies from letter to letter, so if you want to be able to sing as you read, it’s really helpful to listen to the song ahead of time so you know which words to draw out or hurry through.  (In other words, it’s not as precise as an old hymn where there’s one syllable per note and even unfamiliar verses are easy to sing because they stick with that structure.)  Of course, you can just improvise and it will work equally well.  The musical side of me found this slightly frustrating as I tried to sing through the book, but I know most people aren’t so particular, so the song could be a fun tool for them.  Since some of the rhymes were a bit of a stretch as well, I opted to just read the words as prose without attempting to fit them into any sort of rhythm and enjoyed the book much more that way.

All in all I’d say S is for Smiling Sunrise is a cute book with admirable intentions and fun, colorful pictures that capture my little ones’ attention.


Wordsbright Review
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