I was not sure how Letters to Live By: An Alphabet Book with Intention would present itself. What is an “intention” alphabet book? It seemed a little old fashioned. Maybe it would more spiritual? Maybe it would a bit more conservative? It was not conservative, but it was with a classic tone and some “old fashioned” but needed ideas.
What Lisa Frenkel Riddiough did was take the alphabet and paired same lettered words to teach such concepts as generosity, excellence, joy, and compassion.
I was enjoying the book until the letters X, Y and Z took their pages. While yes, I understand that X is not an easy letter to find words for, the words that were used throughout had a flow that was thrown off at this point. I was jarred out of a stream of words, ideas, concepts that while thoughtful, were cozy, familiar, and pleasant. Then Y goes back to the flow, but the words used felt forced as if the author too had lost their place. And then Z. Poor Z had to wait for 25 letters and then it is not even given a real word. It is “Z the day…” (Seize the day). Maybe Zany is not a concept that fit with the theme in the authors mind, but I am sure it could have fit. Or at least make S have more words or use seize the day then.
When finished reading, I went back to look at Asa Gilland’s illustrations. Classical is my first thought, as the cover looks like it would hold prayers, meditations, or affirmations. It came off as almost 1970s with the patterns and colors. There is a touch of modern with the multiracial children, types of needs, and tone internally. They are not overly detailed, but nicely include what you will need to understand the text.
Overall, I neither love nor hate this book. It is enjoyable, but not my first choice for a new alphabet book. However, I know that this is the perfect book for a classroom, and even a story time read. Al ages can appreciate it, as the younger will learn the alphabet, and the older can learn the concepts.