All Aboard!: A Traveling Alphabet

All Aboard!: A Traveling Alphabet

5.0 1
by Bill Mayer

Journey from the everyday to the exotic with this alphabet on the move. Cross the B-shaped arches of a bridge; land on the angled L of an airfield; drive over the looped O of an overpass.

Bill Mayer's bold art evokes classic travel posters with utterly modern color and flair. Allow your imagination to soar — and

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Journey from the everyday to the exotic with this alphabet on the move. Cross the B-shaped arches of a bridge; land on the angled L of an airfield; drive over the looped O of an overpass.

Bill Mayer's bold art evokes classic travel posters with utterly modern color and flair. Allow your imagination to soar — and discover something unexpected in each elegant picture puzzle.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Mayer (A Walk in the Rain with a Brain) creates a '20s-style travel poster for each letter in this elegant abecedary. Working in grainy airbrush gouache to mimic the steely blue, velvety gold and crimson of classic lithography, he creates a 26-piece design showcase while reproducing certain static, monumental elements of art deco. Mayer's cover image and letter-A page, "All Aboard!," pictures a docked steamship. Upon closer inspection, readers see that the ship's hull, a diagonal gangplank and a supporting beam discreetly form a slant-sided A. "Landing" pictures silvery prop planes cruising on a floodlit runway that forms a wide L; "Tour" pictures the T-shaped red handlebars of a stylized black bicycle. The final page provides thumbnail versions of all the images, with broad white strokes that emphasize the letterforms within each composition. Some are obvious, like a railroad "X-ing." Others require scrutiny, like the I ("Island") formed by a beachgoer's skinny legs. Mayer successfully evokes the glamour of the Roaring Twenties, although his travel ABCs never quite get under way. The designs are consistent and uniform, but so self-contained they do not generate momentum; that said, individual images will attract their share of admirers. Ages 3-7. (Feb.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Debbie Levy
In this alphabet book, each letter is paired with a travel-related word—an object or concept—which is the subject of a picture. B is for bridge, for example, and H is for highway. The pictures are executed in the style of classic travel posters of the 1920s, bold, colorful, and highly stylized. The jacket's inside flap copy invites readers to "discover something unexpected in each elegant picture puzzle," which turns out to be the letter of the alphabet that is in play in that particular picture. The "answers" are shown on the volume's back cover. Some of the letters are actually easy to miss, especially if readers skip the flap copy, because their incorporation into the design is so seamless. Stylistically, this is a sophisticated picture book. Adults are likely to be attracted to the artwork, which has a glossy, atmospheric aura. Children may find some of the images too static to be engrossing. Some of the choices of things or concepts to pair with letters seem a bit of a stretch for the book's asserted theme—like funnel for F, which is illustrated by the smokestack of a steamship. On the other hand, zeppelin for Z is perfect. For people of all ages who like alphabet books, this is a different take on an old standard, and enjoyable if sometimes slightly off the mark. Reviewer: Debbie Levy
School Library Journal

K-Gr 4- There is no story here, but kids fascinated with transportation might enjoy these travel-related images and hunting for the capital-letter shape embedded in each one. Mayer employs his expertise with airbrush and digital techniques to create striking super-graphic, poster-type pictures, one for each letter of the alphabet. "A" is in the architecture of an ocean liner's gangplank; a quarter-turn reveals "B" in the arches of a bridge; and clever cropping changes a cycle wheel into "C." Young children will need help to distinguish the sometimes esoterically integrated letters, while older ones (and adults) will appreciate details like the whirring effect in "CYCLE," the exotic flavor of the characters chosen to label an East Indian "ELEPHANT," the upward movement implied by the shaded lettering of JUMP, and the stunning use of shadow and reflection that gives dimension to every illustration. There's a summary page of solutions, with bold white tracings revealing each letter's location on a thumbnail reproduction. A vehicle for the art rather than the alphabet.-Kathy Krasniewicz, Perrot Library, Old Greenwich, CT

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
From A for "All Aboard" to Z for "Zeppelin," this highly original alphabet book takes its travel theme seriously. Each letter of the alphabet represents a travel term, a travel place or a travel mode. Terms include "Jump," "Landing," "Nautical," "Paddle," "Quick" and "Swoosh." Places range from "Bridge," "Dock," "Highway" and "Island" to "Overpass." Modes start with "Cycle" and "Elephant" and end with "Yacht" and "Zeppelin." While the terms conjure tantalizing travel images, the slick airbrush gouache illustrations steal the show. Inspired by sophisticated travel posters of the 1920s, each letter of the alphabet is ingeniously incorporated into the bold design of each travel image. The arch of a Venetian bridge and its reflection in the water along with the tip of a gondola form the letter "G" for the image representing "Gondola." The front of an ocean liner forms the letter "V" for "Voyage." A kayaker's arms and paddle form the letter "K" for "Kayak." Seeking the shape of each letter should prove as intriguing as the retro-travel images themselves. A final page reveals the location of the letter hidden in each image. A tour de force. (foreword) (Picture book. 3-7)

Product Details

Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.20(w) x 12.30(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
3 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Bill Mayer's work has appeared in major journal publications such as the New York Times magazine, National Geographic, Time magazine, Sports Illustrated, and the Wall Street Journal. He also created the Bright Eyes stamp series for the U.S. Postal Service, and has illustrated picture books such as All Aboard by Chris Demarest. Bill lives with his wife, a fellow artist, in Decatur, Georgia. For more information, visit him at

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All Aboard!: A Traveling Alphabet 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
psycheKK More than 1 year ago
My four-year-old son checked this book out from our local library -- twice.  At the end of the second three-week check-out period, I knew that I had to find a copy of this book for his home library.  So I did. The first time we "read" this book, I'm not sure that he fully understood the concept.  He knew he was supposed to look for letters, but he expected them to look LIKE letters.  The second time, about six months later, he was fine with letters not always looking exactly like letters -- his standard was looser and he found almost all of them by himself.  The artwork in this book is based on 1920s travel posters.  I absolutely love 1920s travel posters.  In my younger years, I decorated my apartment with 1920s travel posters.  So when my son wanted this book for his own library, I was not at all annoyed -- I was thrilled.  And when he no longer wants this book for his own library, I will not be at all annoyed -- I will be thrilled, and I will add it to MY own library.