Wild About the Alphabet!

And Other Tales

Children - Educational
60 Pages
Reviewed on 03/01/2020
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Author Biography

I was raised in Atlantic Beach, FLA, and graduated from SCAD. After many,( MANY) years of not working artistically, I was inspired by my wife to write an alphabet book based on the drawing of a chimp I had done whilst at SCAD. Project took about 2 years, in all.

I'm very proud of this book!

    Book Review

Reviewed by Geree McDermott for Readers' Favorite

Mike Crowder’s Wild About the Alphabet! And Other Tales is a delightfully challenging and entertaining alphabet book for grown-ups. I found this book at times surprisingly educational and other times so funny I laughed out loud. This is the perfect book for someone ill or feeling low but only if they don’t mind those around them eyeballing them when they burst out laughing. And, not only does Mike Crowder stimulate our thinking by teaching us new animals and their names, but he also rewards us with his abstract depictions of the animals which are artistically expressive and well done.

I thoroughly enjoyed Mike Crowder’s unique collection of illustrations of animals, some of which I had never heard of before I read this book. Each letter captivated me and I soon found myself engrossed in the descriptions, illustrations, and the names of odd animals with even more unusual portraits. I found myself smiling, and yes sometimes I even laughed out loud as I read each page and examined each drawing. I like the unusual choice of animals to portray each letter of the alphabet as well as the unique artwork. I also like the animals given honorable mention and illustration, as well as the thoughtful guide to teach us how to pronounce the unusual names, found at the back of the book. Wild About the Alphabet! is amazingly informative and scholastically entertaining at the same time.

I can see Wild About the Alphabet! becoming a must-read among students of literature and art as well as those enduring a long flight or illness or any other stressful situation. My husband of 45 years died two months ago and I have had few instances of spontaneous laughter until I read Wild About the Alphabet! I highly recommend Mike Crowder’s book to those interested in literature, words, art, and, of course, animals.

Jack Magnus

Wild About the Alphabet! And Other Tales is an animal-themed educational picture book for children, written and illustrated by Mike Crowder. Who says learning the alphabet has to be boring? Crowder’s version is filled with fascinating facts about the strangest and wildest critters you’ve never heard of. Who knew echidnas are one of the only two mammals that lay eggs -- or that their young ones are called puggles? And be on guard for the Fennec Fox who, as the author says, while irresistibly cute, would not be a good pet. Each page introduces young readers and their caregivers to mostly unique and unfamiliar animals and presents interesting data about each alphabetical representative. And did you know that a Honey Badger isn’t even a badger?

Even adults who think they know everything, particularly about the wild kingdom, will find new creatures to be amazed and delighted by in Mike Crowder’s Wild About the Alphabet! I thought I had a fairly extensive knowledge of creatures both domestic and exotic and still found I had a lot to learn. Crowder has a knack for being a part of the reading experience with his asides and droll comments, and his illustrations rank at the pinnacle of alphabet art, at least in my opinion. Don’t forget to continue past “Z” and check out the goodies in the appendix. There’s a Bonus Section featuring runner-up animals and letters as well as a handy pronunciation guide. Mike Crowder’s imaginative and fun take on the alphabet will make kids sit up and take notice. Wild About the Alphabet! And Other Tales is most highly recommended.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

I can remember making words with alphabet pasta in alphabet soups. We would compete amongst ourselves, seeing who could come up with the most unusual words. How about an alphabet challenge using only wild animals? Not just wild animals that begin with a particular letter, like “E is for elephant”, or the more unexpected and lesser-known, echidna, “sometimes called a spiny anteater, but it isn’t an anteater”. But how about, on top of these different wild animals being attributed to a letter of the alphabet, the animal itself being shaped into that letter? Now that takes real talent. “A gecko is very cute”, and because it’s a lizard, its shape can be manipulated into the shape of the letter ‘G’. And pull the front claws of a lobster drastically forward (to a 90° angle to the rest of the body) and it makes a perfectly adequate ‘L’. Very creative.

Throw in some interesting tidbits about this creative collection of alphabet animals and make it into a colorful presentation and you have a new look at the 26 letters of the English alphabet. That was Mike Crowder’s intent when he put together Wild About the Alphabet! And Other Tales. This book provides an entertaining way to learn the alphabet, learn about some different wild animals and have some fun along the way. Each illustration that accompanies the letter and the animal associated with the letter is colorful and imaginative. Children and grown-ups alike will love this little treasure and the adventure of learning that goes along with it.

Kimberlee J Benart

Wild about the Alphabet! (And Other Tales) is a children’s book written and illustrated by Mike Crowder. It features a wide variety of animals whose bodies form the letters of the alphabet in colorful illustrations. In addition, some other animals starting with the same letter are listed and interesting facts about the featured animal are provided. The animals include both those likely to be known to young readers, such as “A is for alligator,” “K is for kangaroo,” and “R is for raccoon,” and many which a young reader may never have heard about before, such as “E is for echidna,” “F is for fennec,” “I is for indri,” and “P is for pangolin.” There is a pronunciation guide for fourteen of the less familiar animal names and a bonus section with an additional illustrated alphabet featuring more animals.

In Wild about the Alphabet! Mike Crowder gives us an entertaining and educational option for learning our letters. Who wouldn’t have fun repeating “J is for jerboa,” “M is for mandril,” or “Z is for zebu”? The facts about the animals are a nice addition as they make them seem real rather than only something you find in a picture. Children will appreciate the illustrations while they also learn something about new species. For example, I had no idea that there was a small fish in South America called the x-ray tetra that you can see through like an x-ray camera. My favorite animals remain the elephant and giraffe, but there’s something here for everyone.

Bruce Arrington

Wild About the Alphabet! And Other Tales by Mike Crowder is 64 fully colored pages of alphabet and animals. All painted in bright cheerful colors. This is suitable for young children who are learning the alphabet but also can be enjoyed by older readers who enjoy expanding their knowledge of the animals in our world. Each letter stands for a different (and painted) animal and those pages are dedicated to introducing the reader to various trivia on that particular wildlife species. Sometimes the author adds other critters beginning with the same letter. The author provides a pronunciation guide at the end of the book for those harder-to-read species.

It isn’t often that I come across a book whose author can entertain with prose and art. The book is simply a great combination of both factors and one that kids will enjoy reading time and again. I particularly appreciated the fact that the lesser-known species shared the spotlight, and the facts that Mike Crowder researched are certain to capture the wonder and admiration of children everywhere. For example, I never knew salamanders can reach up to six feet long and weigh 143 pounds. Neither did I know that some can regrow parts of their brain! The prose is written in an entertaining and engaging style and the artwork is clearly professional in quality. It’s apparent the author has taken great pains to bring this quality book to the market and it shows. Wild About the Alphabet! And Other Tales by Mike Crowder is highly recommended.