Rosenthal, Amy Krouse Al Pha's Bet, illustrated by Delphine Durand. G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2011. $16.99. PICTURE BOOK. Back when things were being invented--you know, things like the wheel and fire--there lived a man named Al Pha. Once letters were invented, the king of the land realized that it was necessary to determine what order the letters should be in. So he started a contest to see who would find the best order for the letters, and Al Pha made a bet with himself to see if he would be able to do it. The rest is, well, history. I have to admit that I began reading this book assuming it would contain nothing more than forced thoughts to make it work. And while, I did find that some of the ideas were forced, there were several clever parts and I also found the story good enough to hold my interest. For younger readers, however, this book is even better than "good enough" because obviously it can teach letters, but it tells an entertaining story and then gives the opportunity to teach such things as fiction vs. nonfiction and the benefits of hard work. Pre-K, EL(K-3), EL – ADVISABLE. Brent Smith, Reading Teacher.