Alphabeasties: And Other Amazing Types

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Overview

Declared a "thrilling spin through the alphabet" by Publishers Weekly (starred review), this first book in Werner Design Werks' award-winning series turns letters into an artistic menagerie of animals—from Alligators to Zebra. It's a dazzling package of language arts, design smarts, humor, and fascinating nonfiction content. It's alpha-mazing!

2009 Parents' Choice Silver Honor winner

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Overview

Declared a "thrilling spin through the alphabet" by Publishers Weekly (starred review), this first book in Werner Design Werks' award-winning series turns letters into an artistic menagerie of animals—from Alligators to Zebra. It's a dazzling package of language arts, design smarts, humor, and fascinating nonfiction content. It's alpha-mazing!

2009 Parents' Choice Silver Honor winner

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
No ordinary abecedarian, this typographical trip will wow design fans and suggest creative projects with letterforms. The book's introduction speaks affectionately of typefaces—“just like people, they look different and have different personalities”—before embarking on a thrilling spin through the alphabet. The first spread presents an alligator's silhouette, made up of capital and lowercase As, as the repeated word “algae” forms green strands around it. A bat shaped from gothic Bs holds vampire connotations; tall, skinny Gs evoke the height of a giraffe that hides behind leafy, vertical folds; and breathless italic Rs make a rabbit seem poised to leap. Werner and Forss, a debuting team of graphic designers, devote page borders to extra wordplay: a C becomes the curved back and tail of a cat, a K's extended foot kicks a soccer ball, a cursive L is a lasso and rounded Ps nestle in a pod. Innovations arrive several to a page, rewarding repeat visits and encouraging readers to muse on the power of type and all that letters and words can imply or insinuate. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4—The introduction to this book is a little clunky; it's rather wordy and difficult to read with black letters in a small font against a dark gray background. Things become more interesting once that page is turned. An alphabet of animals is presented, each one cleverly composed of its initial letter in a typeface that often suits the characteristics of that creature—a spiky alligator, shaggy sheep, etc. Fold-out pages allow for the impressive height of the giraffe or the length of the alligator to be revealed. Small boxes on the bottom and sides of the pages show how using a different typeface for a particular letter render it suitable for a different purpose—a loopy "l" for lasso as opposed to some that lean or bend slightly for laziness. There is a lot to examine here, and readers should return repeatedly to do just that. Suggestions follow for children to try inventing their own typefaces, and to investigate the Web site for the Type Directors Club. Young readers will enjoy the animals while older children will have a greater appreciation for the book's artistry.—Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
Two graphic designers show their typographical chops with an alphabetically arranged menagerie of easily recognizable animal silhouettes entirely constructed from blizzards of single letters. Artfully placed flaps and folds add fine visual surprises-an Alligator that suddenly yawns, a rearing Unicorn, a Giraffe that s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-s unexpectedly up and down. Without sacrificing an overall visual unity the authors also vary their page and spread layouts in lively ways, creating background details not with drawn lines but fluent lines of words and adding alliterative side galleries of additional figures or single letters in various styles ("This U undulates and has an upturned tail"). It's all intended to promote awareness of typeface and letter design, for a younger audience than might be drawn to Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich's Bembo's Zoo (2000) or Cathryn Falwell's Letter Jesters (1994). Pre-readers will gather too, if just to take pleasure from decoding the animal shapes. (Picture book. 3 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781934706787
  • Publisher: Blue Apple Books
  • Publication date: 7/29/2009
  • Pages: 56
  • Sales rank: 212,866
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 11.60 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Sharon Werner and Sarah Forss are graphic designers at the two-person design studio Werner Design Werks, Inc. in St Paul, Minnesota, which has garnered many graphic design awards, as well as a place in the permanent collections of the Library of Congress, Musee De La Poste, Victoria and Albert Museum, Musee des Arts Decoratifs, and the Cooper Hewitt Museum. You can visit them online at www.wdw.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 22, 2010

    Great book to introduce typeface

    My three-year-old enjoys this book as we discuss all different typefaces. She loves pointing out "funny-looking h's" or "funny-looking f's." Great for preschoolers or early elementary school students.

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    Posted December 27, 2009

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