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Take Away the A

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  1,119 ratings  ·  269 reviews
Take Away the A is a fun, imaginative romp through the alphabet. The idea behind the book is that within every language there are words that change and become a different word through the simple subtraction of a single letter. In other words, without the "A," the Beast is Best. Or, without the "M," a chomp becomes a chop—though it could be that this particular play on word ...more
Hardcover, 60 pages
Published September 9th 2014 by Enchanted Lion Books (first published October 1st 2012)
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4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,119 ratings  ·  269 reviews

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Dani - Perspective of a Writer

Check out more picture book reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...

This book is NOT your average alphabet book... no it is MEANT for an older child who is fully aware of A to Z... instead it teaches that some words CHANGE when a letter is taken away... Basically it teaches the importance of spelling and understanding the meaning of words.

The large size format of the book caught my eye and I was TOTALLY intrigued by the title! We decided to give it a go and my nephew was SOO taken by it that he dre
Sep 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
Once the buzz wears off, I bet I won't be the only reader disappointed by this. I mean, come on, the pictures are dimly colored & ugly, there is no connection running through the book, the sentences have no meaning... it's just a gimmick. The (original) French version looks somewhat more successful (but do understand it's a very different book, of course).

I do adore the concept. I do think that schoolchildren could become much more facile language users if they played word-games like the on
This alphabet book works well for end of kindergarten, first graders and olders who can see how rearranging letters changes words. Some of these pairs work better than others. "Without the A, the beast is the best" shows a beast winning a trophy. Cute. "Without the J, Jam I am." Not so much. If the art were able to actually show the transformation of one thing to another, I think I'd really like this book. Still, fun concept and a fun springboard for kids to look for their own transformative wor ...more
Dichotomy Girl
Mar 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A. (age 3) said that she wanted to give this 100 stars, because she loved it a whole lot, and told me to make sure and put that in my computer!
Oct 03, 2014 rated it did not like it
I guess I had to highlight one star to say I did not like this picture book. First, a picture book is usually written for young children. Second, a alphabet picture book should be written with examples children understand. I thought the book was clever enough until we got o the letter Q. Poor Q. It is seldom alone. QU is a pair. The author's dead end. How to continue the book....and he chose FAQIR and then remove the Q for FAIR. Well, that seems like a solution but then again, perhaps the concep ...more
Nov 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Really fun premise - I liked the wordplay, and it's a good kickoff to get kids playing those kids of games with taking away and adding letters to change one word into another. Some of the examples in the book worked better than others, though.

Some of the illustrations are suuuuper dark, too. (The plate is late!) They're very "black comedy," so they're absolutely funny, but know your kids before you just hand it over. :-p
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Original French version of what became "Take Away the A" in English.
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So clever! The illustrations were not my cup of tea, but the wordplay won me over.
JoJo Ames
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love smart ABC books; and this one fits! The illustrations are clever and comical. Each double page spread begins with “Without the ...” EX: Without the K Monkey Makes Money, showing a monkey making money. Sometimes the letter taken away is the beginning of a word, sometimes not. This will encourage thinking beyond the standard A is for Apple.
Rachel Yoder
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My 5 year old son laughed really hard on some of the take aways. Such a fun book.
Steven R. McEvoy
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2017
This books available in English is a translation from the original French book 'Sans le A'. It is a wonderful fun picture book. My youngest two insisted we read it back to back because they wanted to go through it again. My son who is 9 read it the second time through to is 6 year old sister and to me.

This book goes through the whole alphabet and for each letter has a paring of words one with the letter and one without the letter. The book is fun, it is very funny and my kids think it is Fantast
Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: ABC aficionados, linguists, preschoolers
With a subject as ubiquitous as the ABCs, it's quite a challenge to re-imagine an alphabet book in a way that hasn't been done before. And yet...Escoffier and Di Giacomo have done just that in this beautifully illustrated picture book.

Take Away the A has a unique phrase for each letter, showing how words change when the featured letter is absent. For example: "Without the A, the Beast is the Best;" and, "Without the R, the Crab hails a Cab." This clever new way of looking at words (and the impor
Jul 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Word play par excellence! "Without the A the Beast is the Best, "Without the A
the BEAST is BEST. Without the B the BRIDE goes for a RIDE. Without the C the CHAIR has HAIR." and so forth. This is a fun alphabetical exploration of words and letters, showing how words quickly transform just by removing a letter. The humorous and sophisticated illustrations call for even more thought. This will be loved by kids and teachers alike; it is a great mentor text that can be used in a wide variety of ways!
Anna Louise
Oct 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Take Away the A is a fun, imaginative romp through the alphabet. The idea behind the book is that within every language there are words that change and become a different word through the simple subtraction of a single letter. In other words, without the "A," the Beast is Best. Good alphabet book although some of the words are questionable for younger children.
Dec 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: kids learning letters and spellings
Charmingly eerie illustrations and delightfully smart wordplay make this maybe my all-time favorite alphabet book or, at least, my favorite one since Once Upon an Alphabet, with its similar off-beat humor and for-the-grownups-too-especially tone.
Sep 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Clever + inventive + funny + fantastic artwork = an absolutely perfect book!
Edward Sullivan
Jul 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: alphabet-books
Clever, witty alphabet romp.
This is my kind of picture book! I love the wordplay. It reminds me a lot of the NPR Sunday Puzzle, but for kids.
Julie Hetu
Title: Take Away the A
Author: Michaël Escoffier
Illustrator: Kris Di Giacomo
Genre: Alphabet Book
Theme(s): Alphabet, Vocabulary, Literature/Grammar
Opening line/sentence:
Without the A
The beast is the best.
Brief Book Summary:
This alphabet book not only goes through the letters, but also shows how one letter in a word can change the word and meaning drastically. The different letters do not connect throughout the book, which allows the author to feature many different animals and animated items. T
May 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: is-330-exam-2
_Take Away the A_ by Michael Escoffier and Kris Di Giacomo won the Monarch Award. I absolutely loved this book! It's definitely intended for young readers who are just learning their letters, like preschool through first grade. By talking about each letter's importance, it reinforces the concept of phonics in their young minds in a great way! In this book, the artwork is the story. For example, the first line of the book is "Without the A, the BEAST is the BEST" and then the illustration is of a ...more
Adrianna Laskowski
Feb 21, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love alphabet books and am always amazed how many new things can be done with a format that has been around for a very long time. In this book, it looks at how words are different with the addition, or subtraction, of only one letter. For example: Without the A, Beast is the Best. I think this would be a really fun exercise to do with my students and have them create their own stories, or at least sentences this way. How can you take a word, remove one letter so there is another word hidden in ...more
Joanne Zienty
Jul 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-fiction
This is a different type of alphabet book that explores and encourages wordplay. Young readers may enjoy the challenge of trying the process on their own by thinking up words and then dropping a letter to make an entirely new word and using them both in a sentence. Old-school illustrations (literally, the illustrations have a wash over them to make them look old and worn) make witty commentaries on the text. For example, on the "P" page, plate becomes late and a telling tail hangs from the mouth ...more
Mason Crayne
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I think this is such a fun ABC book because it shows children what words would look like if some of the letters were missing out of them. For example, it uses Crab and then if you take the "R" then you're left with Car and then it shows pictures of both a crab and a car and how a word with one simple letter removed could mean two totally different things. The pictures are very fun to look at and I would love to read this if I were a kid. I give this book a 4/5 stars because I honestly have never ...more
Amber Marler
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Copyright- Unknown
Number of Pages- 52
Book format- Hardback
Reading Level - Pre-school - 3
Genre- Fiction
Lit Requirement- Monarch Award Nominee 2018

Take Away the A by Michael Escoffier is an alphabet book that uses a play on words by taking one letter out of a word and it changes. It plays with words and provides an image that catches the attention of children. Overall, I think this book does a good job of showing the alphabet in a different form. I enjoyed this book very much and plan to rea
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Take away the A is a charming 'abc' picture book that I recommend for any young classroom. I think it's a great way to begin teaching concepts of sentence structures and words to children in grades K-1. The author and illustrator do a great job of telling a story that's sure to get kids fired up. Funny rhymes about witches, and animals are brought to life with great illustrations. I'd recommend it for anyone.
Kelly Mahoney
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: monarch-2018
This book is really clever, and though it's meant for younger kids, it could be easily used with middle school students to challenge their spelling and vocabulary. After all, not many people know what a faqir is. You could definitely have students try to create their own pages, taking away letters to change words in clever ways. The illustrations are adorable and help with comprehension, as well.
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Such a clever and unique alphabet book. With each page, a letter of the alphabet is given along with a word which contains that letter. But readers also see what happens if that letter is left out of the word. For instance, "Without the 'L,' plants wear pants."And "Without the 'N,' the moon says 'Moo!'" There are hilarious illustrations that go along with each page of the story as well. A can't miss for beginning readers.
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book teaches children literacy by highlighting the importance of each letter in a word and how one letter change changes the word.
For example, Beast without the 'a' is Best.
The educational text is accompanied by humorous illustrations (a beast winning first place).

I HIGHLY recommend this book for ages 3-7. Read it if your child enjoys other silly stories like "This is a ball", "Did you take the B from my _ook?", "The book with no pictures", etc.
May 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Don't tell me that I am the only one who glances at advertisements or billboards and sees a different word than what is shown resulting in a very funny ad. This is a very clever way to move beyond the alphabet books into understanding that misspelling a word or dropping a letter can result in a very funny new word. There were a few that are a stretch, but overall Ithink most kiddos would love the humor. A fun way to play with words.
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Michaël Escoffier was born in France in 1970. He discovered his passion for writing and telling stories at a young age. He lives in Lyon, France, with his wife and two children.