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4.23  ·  Rating details ·  669 Ratings  ·  102 Reviews
U can read this, S?
S E-Z!

Vibrant color brings new life to Caldecott Medal-winning New Yorker cartoonist William Steig's classic puzzle book!
Paperback, 48 pages
Published May 1st 2003 by Aladdin (first published January 1st 1968)
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When I was a kid, my aunt would draw us a pictogram riddle that looked something like this, only hand drawn:

C M >-O========== >-O=========== ?
M R (picture of a knot) >-O========= >-O========.
O, S M R!
M R (picture of a knot) >-O========== >-O==========!
O, S M R! C M E-D B-D iiiiii?
O! S! M R >-O========== >-O==========

C M (badly drawn dogs)(I am NOT going to ascii a dog, people)
M R (picture of a knot)(badly drawn dogs)
O, S M R!
M R(picture of a knot)(badly drawn dogs)
O, S M
Feb 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with a little one

C D B!
S, I C D B. S A B-Z B.

that has stuck with me since i was young. some pages are bit more awkward but the idea of the book is so much fun. and there is no life lesson- just an appreciation for language.
Beckie Coldiron
Apr 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-books
"CDB" is such a creative book, that definitely triggers a child's thinking! I would definitely implement this book for inventive spelling, or to act as a stress reliever. I think you could do several fun activities with this, which would ultimately help children with the breakdown of their spelling. I think it'd be fun to have children create their own book, and then they could share it with the class to have them guess the meanings. You can try implement books with illustrations to help; howeve ...more
Lesley Looper
Another delightful book by William Steig! I enjoyed sharing this one with my students, and I've kept a personal copy of it after all these years. Figuring some of the words out reminds me of deciphering some car license plates. The delight in figuring some of them out put a smile on my face! I hadn't picked this book up in several years, so a few of them took me a few seconds to figure out! Didn't mind, though--that much longer to enjoy! The illustrations are fun, and there's a key to the letter ...more
Sarah Kasper
Apr 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: language-arts
This is a really clever book because the sentences are not really sentences, they are simply letters that make sentences. I would use this book with older elementary students because they would be more likely to make sense of how the book is read. Students will have to access prior knowledge and look at the pictures in the book to figure out what sentence the letters are trying to convey. This would be a good book to read before doing a lesson on letter combinations and/or decoding.
Carla Raymer
This is a fun one to read, it has the children (and adults in some cases) guessing what these letters might mean. It is a great one to read aloud to the classroom and have them sound out the letters. You could pick one child to come up and read one page to the class and have him pick on another friend to help him if he doesn't know what it means.
Jun 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finally, as an adult, I can figure out the majority of Steig's word puzzles in this peerless book. The new edition has an answer key in the back, so all is not lost. This book is nothing less than X-L-N!
Feb 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Phonetics = fun
Jun 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An old favorite. Imagine my surprise when I realized he also created Shrek!
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children, humorous, puzzle
This is a clever book! You have to figure out what phrase is being said with just letters and numbers. CDB = See the bee? The pictures help a lot.

I put this under the document camera so my class could play along. They loved it. Some were really quick at it, but others never understood what was going on. It's a great puzzle book for helping students grow their intelligence. It really makes you think in a different way. It's fun.
Graham Pigeon
May 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My mom was obsessed with this book when I was younger. We used to crack up as she read it aloud. SO incredibly clever and enjoyable. One of my all time favorites. Love the simple illustrations. Was so excited to find a copy to share with my son.
Cheryl M.
May 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3rd-graders
I used to use these as puzzles for the class to solve when I was doing substitute teaching.
Fun at the end of the day for them to guess and even make up their own!
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids-books, humor
Funny little word puzzles. Some were 2 hard!!!!
Nov 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their older children
We recently read the book Wumbers by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld. That book pays tribute to this one and while we'd read CDC? several years ago, we'd never read this one before.

This book has the same format as CDC? and the puzzles ranged from very easy to quite challenging. We really enjoyed sounding out the sentences and I was surprised at how complex they could get using only letters and numbers. The illustrations are colorful and humorous and usually help the reader figure out th
Oct 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the most awesome book for kids in the world. I remember this book like it was yesterday. Making the sounds and trying to figure out which words they were trying to mean. When I got each one I was simply enthralled. I would do the happy dance all through the halls into the kitchen to show my Mom that I had succeeded. I was a happy girl. In a sense I was reading, even though I was too young to read at the time. Even now, I remember how happy this book made me.

As an example, the books name
Apr 27, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Decades before text messaging on cell phones was ever introduced to kids around the world, author William Steig gave us CDB!, the book of textesque (to coin a phrase) letter puzzles designed to stir the mind and excercise the intellect. Some of the puzzles in the book are fairly simple, requiring only a speedy read-through to figure out the meaning, but others are quite difficult, necessitating the use of mental free association powers to discern the proper pronunciations that lead to the right ...more
I was familiar with Steig's work long before I knew he'd published any books--from his cartoons in magazines.

I'd forgotten this one, which was probably written during a period when rebuses were popular. These aren't quite rebuses, but rather cartoons with captions composed of single letters, which often have to be read aloud to be decoded.

A charming conceit, and recommended for anybody who likes word games.
An interesting children's book.

I was looking for books to get my twin niece and nephew and thought this might be funny. While it was clever, it didn't make me laugh at all. I thought some of the pages were pretty hard. I had to skip them and later pages had something similar I could figure out, so I could then go back and solve them.

I cannot say for which age group this would be appropriate. I can just say that while I liked it, I didn't love it, and it wasn't what I was looking for.
Apr 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is very creative. The author doesn't try to hide his intentions at all as he showcases from the title that this text is a bit unconventional. When I was younger, my dad used to buy my brother & I academic workbooks to do at home. I remember one of them actually having invented spelling in it like this book. It definitely challenged me to pull on prior knowledge in order to decipher the text. Great book for comprehension!
I was made aware of this book (and its companion) when I read "Wumbers." I didn't know of them before. They are interesting and fun, though occasionally confusing. However, I got about 90% of them correct without looking at the answer key. Not bad! Could be a really fun game. Would be interesting to see how kids learning their letters and numbers would do with this. School-age kids would enjoy it. A nice way to look at things differently.
This has been on my to-read list for a long while -- and it looks like I didn't wait long enough... Bea did not get it -- just kept saying this book is weird and why did it have to be so long.

I thought it was a pretty clever idea - some were really pretty hard. Good for an older kid that likes to puzzle things out and likes word play stuff I'd expect. That is just not my kid.

I always love his illustrations though.
Mary Ann
Kids will still love this classic wordplay book which uses single letters and numerals to make sentences 4 U 2 decode. Steig's clever humor, combined with drawings that give just enough clues, is X-L-N fun. Can you figure out "I N-V U" or "D N S 5 X"? Just in case, there's an answer key in back - but no P-K-N!
Angela Moorer
Fun book!! I would use this book anytime there is a little free time to get students to stretch their thinking and try to figure out what the text on the page says. Students are sure to enjoy this one. In an extension activity, students could write a book in their ow ncode and have friends try to figure out what they said!
Jan 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
It would be a fun book to read with older kids- 4th and 5th graders- on a class visit, because you could have them guess what each page means.

Example: A P-N-E 4 U


A peony for you!




Petey and J are in Jail.

The illustrations for this book are spot on perfect.
Tichina Fung-chung
Apr 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
This book is soooo creative! Instead of using words, the author uses letters. The reader is supposed to figure out each sentence by sounding out and putting each letter together. I think this book would be great for students when studying writing crafts. If students are writing a poem, maybe they can use letters instead of words to express their thoughts.
Scott Cox
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
William Steig, New Yorker cartoonist, was also a well known children's book writer and illustrator. CDB! was Steig's first venture into this genre, and in my humble opinion, it remains one of his best. I still think of his acronyms frequently. After 30 years since first reading it, I can honestly say that I am still in X-T-C! Truly a classic!!
Eva Kelly
Feb 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the silliest, best books EVER! It doesn't have any words, but guess what? It's all letters! Like CDB and then they have a picture of a bee! Or RUOK! And the best one was the sneeze, where they said H U !! So they can even write books with just letters and not even words. Even if they're drawn all sloppy, because it's still funny!
Apr 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: craft-books
I really enjoyed reading this book because it caused my brain to sweat a little and think. In order to read it you must be able to decode it. This is a fun book to challenge students when they want one. This book would also work well with showing students differnt writing crafts and that not all words have to be real words, they can be sounds.
Oct 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
This clever book uses only letters to convey the meaning. Students must combine letter-recognition with the phonemes (sound) they create to make meaning with the simple, but charming illustrations.

Very entertaining!

15 copies
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william stieg, c d b 1 4 Dec 05, 2007 05:42PM  
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William Steig was born in New York City in 1907. In a family where every member was involved in the arts, it was not surprising that Steig became an artist.

He published his first children's book, Roland the Minstrel Pig, in 1968, embarking on a new and very different career.

Steig's books reflect his conviction that children want the security of a devoted family and friends. When Sylvester, Farmer
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