Montessori Letter Work and Montessori Number Work, written by Bobby and June George, illustrated by Alyssa Nassar

Two of my three children attended Montessori preschools, but I have to confess to not paying too much attention to the methods of teaching employed in the classroom. I learned more about the Montessori method reading Montessori Letter Work and Montessori Number Work by Bobby and June George, founders of the Baan Dek Montessori School in Sioux Falls, SD, than I did over the combined years my kids attended these schools. But, that is solely a reflection on me and not the schools or the method... Once again, AbramsAppleseed blazes a new path in the world of board books with these  two titles. And, once again, AbramsAppleseed fulfills their promise to "foster the development of its young readers and engage them and their adults in artful, beautifully conceived books." Montessori Letter Work and Montessori Number Work are both visually appealing and educational in an innovative way that makes perfect sense when reading to and teaching toddlers. 
Both books begin with a letter to parents by Bobby and June George that explains the Montessori method of teaching, which has been successful for over a century now, that focuses on the concrete before the abstract. Numbers are presented as a quantity to count and with a texture to trace that corresponds with the name of the number. TheMontessori method to teaching letters is even more innovative. Learning the sound a letter makes ("b" makes a "buh sound) and the shape of the letter come before learning the name of the letter and how to recite the alphabet. In fact, the letters in Montessori Letter Work are arranged by the motion with which you write the letter rather than alphabetically. Montessori Letter Work provides phonetics to pronounce, a texture to trace and a reference word to provide context.

What makes Montessori Letter Work and Montessori Number Work appeal to kids and adults are the colorful, slightly retro illustrations by Alyssa Nassner. It's hard to make an ABC or 123 book stand out, especially without sacrificing the educational content, by Nassner's artwork and the fantastic book design by Megan Bennett do make these inventive books stand out. From the long, rectangular shape and the tabs in Montessori Number Work to the background of the art, which looks like it was painted on wood, enhancing the tactile aspects of the books, the attention to detail is evident. Add these titles to the list of the only board books your infant will need.

Source: Review Copy

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