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Backseat A-B-See

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  245 ratings  ·  67 reviews
Vroom! Vroom! From the backseat, what do you see? Whether on a cross-country road trip or a quick jaunt across town, there's no end to what a child can see from the backseat of a car. Using familiar road signs, this striking book introduces little ones not just to the alphabet but also to the world around them. Equally perfect for transportation-obsessed children and those ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published April 11th 2012 by Chronicle Books (first published April 6th 2012)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  245 ratings  ·  67 reviews

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Adrienne Pettinelli
Backseat A-B-See is a bit of an update of Tana Hoban’s I Read Signs, which is fantastic and still works but also looks a bit dated. Lieshout gives us digital illustrations rather than photographs. The endpapers are a top-down view of a road (genius), and (further genius) she has an author’s note on the first page in a caution sign and a “WRONG WAY” sign blazing on the back endpaper. From there, we see a child and parent heading off in a car, finding signs that correspond to each letter of the al ...more
Jul 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The reason this is a 5 star book is because of the potential this book holds! Recently I went on a car trip with some friends and they had "car bingo" cards. On these cards we would check off when we saw various signs or things on the road. This made the trip go much faster because it gave us things to focus on and chat about. This book would be PERFECT if you left it in the car and adhered a post-it note to each page (Since writing in books is a big no-no.). Then as the child sees that sign the ...more
EXCELLENT design, great selection (Yay LIBRARY!) of signs...I was a little surprised that the only one that was a "stretch" was "Quack;" I anticipated that more of the signs would be unusual but almost all of them can be seen on a day-to-day basis.

Love the small but perfect expressions on the child in the backseat...a smile once the first sign is seen, then a sleepy face on the Z page. Love the "wrong way" sign on the back endpapers! And the road motif is a perfect conduit through the book.
I choose this book for my three year old Mason, because I am doing homeschool preschool with him. We are learning about the alphabet using books and learning how to write currently. So I chose this book because it's ABCs but also he loves anything that deals with cars, trains, and dinosaurs. "Backseat A-B-See" by Maria van Lieshout, is a great book that has very little colors which is great for little kids especially babies. It teaches kids about the ABCs but also about different signs that you ...more
Adrianna Laskowski
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
Number of Pages- 33
Book Format-Hardcover
Reading Level- Pre-k-K; GR N/A
Genre- Fiction/Children's literature
Lit Requirement- alphabet book 1

Summary- Backseat A-B-See takes you on a road trip through the alphabet while naming road signs pertaining to the letter on each page.

Response- I thought this was a fun turn on an alphabet book that can teach students a few things about road signs while they are practicing the alphabet.
Sahuna Imran
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I watched the read aloud video of this book on YouTube by Little cub Literacy.
Sam reads the book and I love the way she reads. The illustrations were awesome.
Backseat A B See by Maria Van Lieshout is an excellent book to teach children about road signs.
I would recommend this book to all the children around the world.
Mama Bearian
Oct 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: abc
What can you see from the backseat? Road signs! This book has a sign for every letter. This would be a fun one for road trips or for transportation enthusiasts, because it gives you something to look for on the road!
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Loved the idea of the book. Helps the child pay attention when in the car, and also helps children identify signs and some of the letters that go along with those signs.
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Cute book for learning ABCs and identifying road sides with little ones. We read it at home but it would be a fun road trip book so kids could identify the road signs as they go.
Nov 03, 2018 rated it liked it
What do you see when your riding in the backseat? A fun twist on the ABC's with signs of all shapes, colors, and messages. Great read for children who are beginning to notice the world around them. ...more
The Campbell Family
We are in our car a LOT and my kids love road signs. This is a great book and would make a fun gift!!
Candy | Evianrei
Feb 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens-books
Occasionally I'll see my one year old tote this book around. He isn't really interested in the words or me reading it, but the bold color contrast in the images seems to catch his attention. ...more
Amy Lafleur Meyers
Learn letters by road signs from A for Airport to Z for Zzzz and everything in between. Perfect alphabet book to accompany children on a road trip.
This concept book is a great way to not only introduce the alphabet in the classroom but, the world around us. No matter where a student is going, they can see all the road signs around them, all form the backseat of a car! Copyright 2012.
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Probably best for preschoolers, this ABC book is great for fans of cars, and all things roads and construction as the book goes through the various traffic signs and matches the sign with a given letter. For example "Airport" sign is for A.

This book can be great for teaching visual literacy or giving primary grade aged kids an introduction to traffic signs in general
Angelica Jajeh
Sep 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
2012 Alphabet book that goes through the things you would see on a roadtrip. This would be good for young children who need to practice their ABC's. Concept book. ...more
Nov 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
The book design and concept for Maria Van Lieshout’s Backseat A-B-See is a clever variation on the typical alphabet book and a great example of environmental print as this alphabet is composed entirely of road signs. Van Lieshout’s digitally created illustrations are very simple and somewhat stylized, featuring white lines on a black background to evoke the road, capital letters in large white font, and large, colorful road signs all of which are very striking against the black background of eac ...more
I like that this ABC book theme is signs kids can see from the backseat. As a child, I don't remember paying much attention to signs. Except for states' border signs. Otherwise, I was looking at other things out the window. I only saw signs if my parents pointed them out. I had to start training myself to look at them when I began driving--who knew how helpful they could be. But it also took some time before I could fully tell/remember what they were meaning. So this book wouldn't have been grea ...more
Emilia P
Jun 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids-stuff
This book is exactly what it looks like -- nothing more or less -- just street signs for each letter of the alphabet, some immediately recognizable (Detour, Merge, Stop, Yield) and some slightly obscure, even slightly stretching (Heliport, Quack for Ducks, and Zzzzz with a hotel sign). And of course, of course, the great treat that is L for Library! I was most pleased that this book didn't opt to have "L is for..." it just presented each sign next to a letter -- so it's a good observing book for ...more
Rochelle Sondae
Jul 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
My favorite book on this subject is Signs in Our World by DK Publishing, regretfully it is no longer in print. This is a fairly good substitute. Depending on how you look at it, this title costs more for roughly the same material. (Now that the other one is no longer available a "new" copy is very expensive.) Each letter has its own page with a corresponding road sign. I think they took a few liberties with "Quack" for Duck crossing and "x-ing" for people crossing the road. Overall the book is b ...more
Mar 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: ncbla2013
I like the idea for this book--considering what can be seen from the backseat of a car. The author/illustrator uses common road signs to cover the letters of the alphabet. Although I'm not sure why the view needs to be from the backseat since those signs are actually pretty useful for the driver to see when negotiating his/her move from lane to lane or off the highway, but maybe she means it in the way we typically call someone a backseat driver. At any rate, this title will certainly be useful ...more
Nov 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing little picture book.The book progresses and shows what the reader as they move down the road. I work at a pre-school and I used this picture book to inform my students about the alphabet. Students made connections with what they see in their own cars - which in my opinion adds to the level of engagement.

(Type of text)The text is certainly informational. I loved the unique "plot" because it leads to conversations amongst peers.(Images)The images were bright and they had contra
A great example of environmental print as this alphabet is composed entirely of road signs -- all things a toddler can see from the back seat! Simple and boldly designed, with black backgrounds and white road markings behind each sign. Each letter is in large white font against the black. Most signs will be recognizable as well; J for Junction is a little difficult, and Q for quack is for the duck crossing sign, one of my personal favorites. My very favorite is L for Library (of course!) Perfect ...more
Jul 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: youth, picture-book
This is a creative alphabet book that uses common road signs that begin with the letters of the alphabet. The background of each page adds to the theme of the book by using a black road with a white dashed line through the middle. Each of the highlighted road signs visually pop upon the black background. Even the end pages keep the theme of the book by adding a road sign for the author's introduction, a yellow car with an adult driving a child, and a "Wrong Way" sign at the end. This is a fun bo ...more
The Library Lady
Aug 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: professional-use
Someone suggested in their review that this would be perfect for a game in the car and I agree. The graphic design is EXCELLENT--against the bold black road with the white dash divider the colors of the signs pop perfectly.
This is reminiscent of some of Donald Crews books, and I hope it's recognized as such. Terrific!
Feb 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s, theoreads
My co-worker clued me into this one and I knew it would be a hit before I brought it home. I've already purchased a copy after checking it out from the library.

My oldest son loves to point out road signs in books. While he enjoys reading about them now, I think the book will grow with him as he starts recognizing them more on the streets, as we will face him forward in the car seat a few months down the road. The book will be an excellent car read.
Mary Combs
This was a really cute book attempting to teach kids the letters of the alphabet. The book starts with setting up the scene, that the child is in the back of the car. As the book progresses it shows what a child might see while going down the road. I think this book would be super helpful for children who are learning their letters. The high color contrast and relateable pictures would really hold the child's attention. I would recommend this book for readers 4 and up. ...more
Great Books
May 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: birth-4
How often does your child ask what a road sign says? This book travels through the alphabet and provides examples of many of the signs you and your child would see on your daily drive. Celebrate the view from the back seat with a book that fosters a preschooler's early efforts to read.

Reviewed by Reviewer 19.
Paul  Hankins
Another super ABC book to work into our lesson on Categorization and Classification. Presenting street and highway signs as a means of teaching the alphabet has design written all over it (bringing in our reading of Daniel H. Pink's book, A WHOLE NEW MIND).

The crisp hard feel of the book and its pages coupled with a simple color scheme assures that the book never "breaks character."
Nashiea Edmiston
This book is simple yet is so very flexible, the possibilities are endless. I could see using this book in a unit about travel, road trips, road signs, or for children simply learning the alphabet. The book is in black and white yet the signs appear in bold primary colors which would make it a great addition to a unit on colors as well.
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Maria is author, illustrator and designer of picture books.
She grew up near Amsterdam, and studied Visual Communications at George Washington University in DC.
Maria has a background in branding at Coca-Cola, and likes history, art, storytelling, magical realism, vintage printing, ancient patterns and secrets hidden long ago. She is working on an illustrated novel that includes all that. Maria live

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