Books friends are the very best friends.

Just a week ago, my good book friend introduced me to Patience Mason as Teri knows of my interest in ABC books, particularly when teaching classification as a rhetorical mode (a post for another time).

I will always accept a new ABC title into the collection we have in Room 407, and I am never disappointed in those recommended by my friend. But, when I got a chance to look at Patience's "critters" on line, the mailman couldn't come quickly enough. When this book finally arrived at Hankins Ranch Thursday afternoon, I dove right in.

And I found a "wonder"-full book filled with delightful text and images that spread over the page playfully ignoring margins and scale to create a sense of a maker's kind of book. Andy Acorncap ambles into the rhyme scheme that develops between the facing pages which puts Woodland Litter Critters ABC right into that One Book Four Hands place (a place reserved for the kind of book that should be shared between an older reader and a younger reader to hit those rhymes and rhythms while pointing to the images purposefully before turning the page). Within the twenty-six explorations of the building blocks of our language are devices to share and to talk about. "Bird babies bee-bop behind," "Elvis and Elvira Evergreen strike an elegant pose," and we meet the "vines": Vicky, Vinnie, and Volt.

What I share with students in Room 407 is that I often judge an ABC book by how it treats the letter X. And Patience does not disappoint from a wonder sense. On this page, we meet Xerxes the Xenos his one-eyed Xat. Later, in the end pages of the book, we learn that Xenos means "alien" in Greek. Imagine, later in a students reading, when they encounter the word, xenophobia, within a text and remember Xenos.

In the Notes section of this engaging ABC book, Patience offers from where many of the elements of her "critters" come. That many of these items are commonly found in woodland areas and backyards is encouraging to this readers "maker" sense. It means that I can make critters too.

With summer break coming, I can just imagine shoeboxes full of small sticks and acorn caps and seedpods and pinecones. It's time to make new some new friends. Friends of our making. Just waiting to be wondered. Just waiting to be made.