Alphabeasts [NOOK Book]

Overview

From the startlingly unique imagination of Wallace Edwards comes an alphabet book like no other. Quirky, surreal and humorous, this collection of animal portraits is a visual feast for the eyes.
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Overview

From the startlingly unique imagination of Wallace Edwards comes an alphabet book like no other. Quirky, surreal and humorous, this collection of animal portraits is a visual feast for the eyes.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Gwyneth Evans

How would an alligator go about sitting in an easy chair? Toronto artist Wallace Edwards props his alligator's chin on a well cushioned footstool, while its tail drapes down over the chairback and its front legs dangle at ease. In this unusual alphabet book, each animal is painted with detailed zoological accuracy, while ingeniously placed in an incongruous domestic setting in an old-fashioned house. A zebra takes a bath, a giraffe balances a tray of glasses on its head, and a mandrill sits by the telephone, "expecting a call."

Edwards' first picture book evokes a contemplative mood, inviting us to feel the beautifully rendered textures of skin and fur, and to speculate about the pictured situations as a hippo prepares to play a violin and a yak paints itself into a corner. A tarantula arriving for tea has evidently caused some consternation, as the teapot is overturned beside a shattered cup. And what is going on with the dancing swan, most of the animals are in dreamy moods, and there is a stillness about the pictures that enhances ther surrealism and draws the viewer into ther mystery.

The brief texts often play with words: the elephant with a toy train is "on the right track", and the cat "reflects on its self" in a mirror, seeing a tiger. Perhaps Edwards identifies himself with the frog, paintbrush under its arm, taking a flying leap into the unknown. While his magic realism recalls the picture books of Anthony Browne, Edwards in not didactic like Browne, but lets his beautiful, mysterious pictures operate on the imagination as they will.
Quill & Quire, August 2002

Publishers Weekly
An explosion of color and pattern are the central attraction in this otherwise confusing abecedary. An intriguing frontispiece of an old Victorian house that sports tusks for front pillars, a zebra-skin cupola and more, hints at what lurks within. "A is for Alligator,/ awake from a dream./ B is for Bat,/ slurping ice cream," kicks off the series of rhymed couplets that lead readers through room after room filled with alphabetically appropriate creatures. The alligator lounges on a tomato-red upholstered chair, his head propped on pillows of wildly contrasting design; beneath him lies a patterned oriental carpet, and ornate sage-colored Victorian wallpaper provides the backdrop. Visual contrast abounds in debut artist Edwards's watercolor-and-pencil illustrations, and he frequently conveys a sense of wit ("H is for Hippo, preparing to play," for instance, shows a rotund hippo waddling toward a delicate chair with violin and bow at the ready). But while there's much to look at, the visual references seem more suited to adults than younger readers. Some objects are related thematically, but they're rarely linked alphabetically. All ages. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
A series of rhymes putting various creatures into sometimes absurd activities and situations takes us from A to Z. A surreal-looking Victorian manse at the outset is probably the setting. The book concludes with another view of the house. Full-page watercolor and colored-pencil illustrations interpret the somewhat ordinary, caption-like verses in detailed, extraordinary ways. "H is for Hippo, preparing to play," for example, depicts a large hippo almost filling a room, sitting in a chair holding a small violin. "T is for Tarantula, arriving for tea," is a birds-eye view of a broken teacup and overturned teapot, on a tile floor with a spreading brown stain. The naturalistic scenes are loaded with multi-patterned fabrics for a visual feast to read and re-read. 2002, Kids Can Press,
— Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-Adorned with elaborate illustrations for each letter of the alphabet, this fanciful concept book may have difficulty finding an audience. The rhyming text is occasionally clever, but more often just bizarre. The text and art try to surprise and puzzle, but frequently seem nonsensical and awkward. The cat that imagines himself as a tiger and the kingfisher resting on a fishing-lure box are fun and witty. The zebra in the bathtub and the yak painting himself into a corner are enigmatic. There is an art-deco tone in the rich and varied patterns on the walls, floors, and furnishings throughout the book. The beasts are wonderfully drawn and fascinating, especially the xenosaur and narwhal, and the colors are vibrant. However, unlike Graeme Base's Animalia (Abrams, 1987), in which the imaginative alliteration and fantastic illustrations are woven together, the text and the art in this book try too hard to make a match. Although some children will be fascinated with the watercolor-and-pencil pictures, they may not be enough to make the book anything more than a marginal purchase.-Carol Schene, Taunton Public Schools, MA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Quill & Quire Starred Review
Edwards ... lets his beautiful, mysterious pictures operate on the imagination as they will.
Globe & Mail
...[A highly original and most appealing ABCDarium ... clever, arresting and thought-provoking through to Z.
Booklist
Imagine a slightly dilapidated Victorian house occupied solely by animals and you have the premise of this beautifully illustrated, faintly surreal alphabet book.
From the Publisher
Edwards ... lets his beautiful, mysterious pictures operate on the imagination as they will.

...[A] highly original and most appealing ABCDarium ... clever, arresting and thought-provoking through to Z.

Visual contrast abounds in debut artist Edwards’ watercolor-and-pencil illustrations, and he frequently conveys a sense of wit ?

Imagine a slightly dilapidated Victorian house occupied solely by animals and you have the premise of this beautifully illustrated, faintly surreal alphabet book.

This delightful alphabet book is perfect for a rollicking fun story-time, alphabet study, or poetry class. But don’t save this treasure just for the kids - anyone who appreciates art or illustration will love it too.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781894786713
  • Publisher: Kids Can Press, Limited
  • Publication date: 8/1/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: NOOK Kids Read to Me
  • File size: 8 MB

Meet the Author

Wallace Edwards is a commissioned artist, as well as a freelance illustrator for books and magazines. He lives in Yarker, Ontario, near Kingston.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2003

    Alphabeasts

    I must disagree with Ms. Carol Schene, (Taunton Public Schools, MA) who wrote the review (Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information) for the School Library Journal. She really made a wrong call when she said that 'this book may have difficulty finding an audience.' But you don't need to take my word for it. The awards Alphabeasts has received speak volumes -- take, for example, the 2003 'Children's Choices Award' granted to Alphabeasts by the International Reading Association. (The books selected for this award are chosen by children themselves -- each year approximately 10,000 children ages 5 to 13 from different regions of the United States vote on their favorite books, and select an average of 100 favorite books from among titles published in the U.S. for the given year.) If that is not enough to convince you, then look at some of the other awards and honors which Alphabeasts has received -- it won the 2002 Governor General¿s Literary Award, Canada¿s highest award for children¿s book illustration; was selected and favorably reviewed in approx. 1,550 newspapers as part of the Associated Press 2002 'Back to School Round-up;' won ForeWord Magazine¿s 2002 Book-of-the-Year-Award (Gold) in the picture book category; was a finalist in the 2003 Independent Publisher Book Awards (Children¿s Picture Book Category); has been recommended by the National Library of Canada; and internationally was selected by the International Youth Library in Munich for inclusion in its prestigious White Ravens 2003 Catalogue Collection (which contains only 250 titles in 36 languages from 47 countries). Children and adults alike agree that this is a great book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2002

    Alphabeasts

    This book is a visual delight! Mysterious, rich, a pleasure for kids and adults too! The watercolours provoked interesting conversations with my little readers, and inspired them to draw their own 'alphabeasts.' It looks beautiful on the coffeetable too, where my adult friends pick it up to peruse with pleasure.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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