Friday, June 8, 2012

Introducing Alphabetown USA -- A Fun, New Children's Book Series Which Introduces Young Children to the Alphabet and Vowels (Review)


Imagine living in Alphabetown USA , populated by letters from the alphabet which come alive, have their own personality and teach young children word formation. The new Alphabetown USA series of stories from Beaner Books features the titles Where is Ziggy?, Hannah’s Homework and Catena Goes Camping followed this summer by the introduction of
Madison’s Magical Adventure.

The Alphabetown USA series was developed by Ryan and Nicole Mayer, a husband and wife team from Rolesville, North Carolina and is illustrated by artist Russ Simmons. The first Alphabetown book, Where Is Ziggy? , prior to its official publication was made available for use in local elementary schools. Where Is Ziggy? went on to receive an Honorable Mention at the 2008 NYC Book Festival for Best New Children’s Book.

Nicole Mayer has a background in psychology and education and her husband Ryan is a former law enforcement officer. However, the real inspiration for Alphabetown USA stories comes from the Mayer’s children.

“Ryan and I turn their ideas into stories and incorporate the educational component,” said Nicole Mayer. “Reading, and the ability to read, is such a critical part of a child’s development that we wanted to create books that were not only fun for young children, but served as an educational tool for parents and teachers as well.” For example, Where is Ziggy? emphasizes teamwork and letter recognition while Catena Goes Camping helps children learn the hard and soft sounds of the letter C and the importance of being prepared.

Various educators have commented on the creativity which Alphabetown brings to teaching,
Frederick Johnson, Ed.D., Elementary School Principal, Mary E. Roberts Elementary School in Moorestown, NJ called the Alphabetown book series “a creative concept that introduces children to letter recognition, word formation and life lessons. The illustrations are eye catching and will attract young learners with their bold colors and interesting adventures.” Trinity Episcopal Preschool (Moorestown NJ) director Nancy Whisonart commented “with its bright and beautiful illustrations, Alphabetown books are a perfect way to introduce language skills to young children. We are excited about using these books as part of our curriculum.”

The authors’ children have also influenced Alphabetown USA beyond just story ideas. Socially
conscious daughter Hannah inspired her parents to donate a portion of the proceeds of each title to a specific non-profit organization. Where is Ziggy? helps Alex’s Lemonade Stand fight childhood cancer victims, Hannah’s Homework benefits McDonald House of Southern New Jersey, and Catena Goes Camping aids Miracle Flights for Kids.

Alphabetown will offer a special Summer 2012 launch promotion for books purchased on their website ( With the purchase of both Where is Ziggy? And Hannah’s Homework, consumers will receive Catena Goes Camping for free. Alphabetown will also donate $1 per book to each of the book title’s designated charities through June 30 from the sale of all books on the website and from all sales made on A portion of the proceeds of book sales from other retailers will continue to be made as well, but a higher contribution will be made to charities through sales on and


My Thoughts:

I was kindly sent Hannah's Homework and Where is Ziggy?, two of the three titles currently available from the Alphabetown USA series.  These two books, which focus on the alphabet and language development skills have come in handy, as I have been working with Savannah on learning her ABC's.  She loves when I read her these books, which have colorful and fun illustrations on each page.  After I am done reading the text on a page, I will point to the different letters, and she will repeat them back to me.  Slowly but surely, she is learning the alphabet and can say her vowels, thanks to the Vowel Gang.  Out of the two books we received to review, I have to say our favorite is Where is Ziggy? as it not only deals with introducing the alphabet and showing how words are made my combing different letters, but it also teaches the importance of teamwork in a fun and creative way.  In this book, Ziggy has come missing, and words that contain the letter Z are lost with him.  The Vowel Gang goes on a search to find Ziggy and make everything all right again.  This is a real page turner for children, as they not only learn about words that contain the letter "Z", but take part in the search for Ziggy.  By the end of the book they find Ziggy, who had ran away because he thought that nobody used him.  The Vowel Gang show Ziggy that he is an important letter and that without him words like zebra, prize, zoo and maze wouldn't be possible.  

In addition to the stories, the last few pages, contain fun activities that children will enjoy doing together with parents, like matching, finding what is different between two pictures and picture searching.  If you purchase Where is Ziggy?, you will also receive a cd-rom disc that contains over 50 printable worksheets and educational activities, for children 2-6.  Savannah is having a blast with these printable worksheets, as we have made it a fun Daddy and Me activity that she does with my husband when he comes home from work and spends time with her, while I finish up dinner.

Hannah's Homework introduces children to vowels, and shares the importance of helping others.  This fun story will have your children pointing out the vowels on each page.  The Vowel Gang helps Hannah with her homework assignment, which she is struggling with.  She needs to come up with ten words that start with a vowel.  With their help, she is able to complete her homework assignment, while learning more about vowels.

So, if you are looking for a fun and creative way to introduce the alphabet and vowels to your young child, why not consider picking up any of these titles from the Alphabetown USA series?  They have helped Savannah learn her ABC's, and I know your children will benefit from these books, too.


Head on over to Alphabetown to order any of the three titles currently available.  Each book has a recommended retail of $14.95. An introductory price special of $10 per book and $25 if all three book titles are purchased is offered on

Don't forget to follow Alphabetown on Facebook at for news of special promotions, new product introductions and more.

About Alphabetown USA:
Alphabetown USA is a fun and interactive series of children’s books teaching letter recognition, word formation and various life lessons. Current offerings include three book titles:
● Where is Ziggy?
● Hannah’s Homework
● Catena Goes Camping

A fourth title, Madison’s Magical Adventures will be introduced summer 2012.

About the Authors/Illustrator:

The authors of Alphabetown USA are Ryan & Nicole Mayer. Both graduates of Rutgers University, Nicole has a background in psychology and education and Ryan is a former law enforcement officer. The Mayers have four children, Alex (17), Hannah (9), Madison (7) and Ava (6). The books are illustrated by Russ Simmons, a Creative Director and fine artist whose works can be found in several South Jersey Shore art galleries.
Disclosure:  I was sent copies of these books by the publisher in order to write up an honest review.  The views above are mine and mine alone.

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