Alphabet Mystery

( 4 )

Overview


Bestselling writer Audrey Wood and artist son Bruce present a second alphabet book with a twist: a fun mystery that will let young readers learn their lower case letters without having to study!

Engaging alphabet books are perennial bestsellers with unlimited demand. As in their previous collaboration, the Woods bring lower-case letters to life in a fun adventure. Little x has left, upset he's hardly used, and the other letters set out to find him. They find x playing the ...

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Overview


Bestselling writer Audrey Wood and artist son Bruce present a second alphabet book with a twist: a fun mystery that will let young readers learn their lower case letters without having to study!

Engaging alphabet books are perennial bestsellers with unlimited demand. As in their previous collaboration, the Woods bring lower-case letters to life in a fun adventure. Little x has left, upset he's hardly used, and the other letters set out to find him. They find x playing the castle xylophone for the mysterious Master, capital M, who threatens to turn them into alphabet soup! Some quick thinking by Little x saves the day, and soon they are all on their way home--just in time to make Mom's birthday surprise: a cake with Little x all over. He's the only one who stands for kisses!

Little x is missing from Charley's Alphabet, and the other lowercase letters go off to solve the mystery of his disappearance, learning in the end how valuable a little x can be.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Twenty-five letters of the alphabet embark on a mission to find Little x in this jovial mystery from Audrey and Bruce Wood, the creators of Alphabet Adventure.

When Little x turns up missing one night, the other letters in Charley's alphabet hop aboard a pencil and zoom off to find him. Flying over towns and country fields, the group spots another of Charley's pencils near a castle and makes a b-line downward, only to learn from a crooked capital I that the castle belongs to Master. Once inside, the letters see Little x tap dancing on a xylophone in the presence an overpowering capital M, but when they beckon him to come with, the reply is, "Little x is just a worthless letter back home. At least here I have a job." Fortunately, the letters have a secret up their sleeve about a birthday present for Charley's mother, and after giant M finally lets Little x go (they hit his soft spot, since "mother" begins with him), they hightail it back home, where Charley's gift results in a special job for Little x.

Following the format of their previous alphabet book, the Woods have created another fanciful, letter-filled treat. Bruce Wood's fantastical illustrations will keep young alphabet learners scouring the pages for new things to identify, making these letters a rollicking group of adventurers that kids will love to follow. This alphabet book gets a capital A. Matt Warner

From the Publisher

Booklist
(December 1, 2003; 0-439-44337-7)

PreS-Gr. 2. Charley's letters from Alphabet Adventure (2001) set off on another escapade to find Little x, who was absent from the bedtime roll call. After Little t tattles that x took a pencil and flew away, the other letters hop on a pencil and take off to hunt for him. They find him in a castle, held captive by Giant M, a miserable monster. It seems Little x ran away because Charley never used him. But Little i knows a secret; tomorrow is Charley's mother's birthday, and Charley plans to use Little x. Monster M lets Little x go and allows each letter to choose a gift from his treasure room. As it turns out, Charley makes a cake, spells out "I Love You Mom," and uses Little x four times--for kisses, of course. Visual and verbal puns add to the fun of learning the alphabet, as do the vividly colored, digitally created illustrations that look like animated photographs.ids will love the "I Spy" aspect of matching letters to the gifts. --Julie Cummins Copyright 2003 Booklist

School Library Journal
(November 1, 2003; 0-439-44337-7)

PreS-Gr 2-A story that invites participation and promotes letter recognition. When Little x disappears from Charley's Alphabet, the rest of the letters search for him, finding him in the castle of Master M. To their surprise, he does not want to be rescued, because he is useful there unlike at home, where Charley seldom uses him. When Master M awakes and threatens to use the letters in soup, Little x comes to the rescue and they all return home safely. There, Charley helps his dad decorate a birthday cake for his mother, and he uses Little x four times-because it is the only letter that stands for kisses. As in Alphabet Adventure (Scholastic, 2001), children will work on a skill necessary to begin reading as they enjoy the story and the bright, three-dimensional-looking digital illustrations filled with detail.-Margaret R. Tassia, Millersville University, PA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Publishers Weekly, starred
(September 1, 2003; 0-439-44337-7)

In this follow-up to Alphabet Adventure, mother and son Woods again unleash young Charley's set of three-dimensional, lower-case letters on what is best described as a why-dunit. When the alphabet takes nightly roll call, something isn't right. Little x is missing, and the other 25 letters set off to track him down. They find him at the spooky castle of the ominously green Giant M (for Master) and discover that their comrade has become a captive but willing court musician ("tap-dancing a lullaby on a xylophone"). "I ran away because Charley never uses me," Little x whines. But when Little i (whose missing dot was the subject of the previous volume) explains Charley's plans for Little x in his mother's birthday surprise, the errant letter agrees to escape-a plan that turns out to be unnecessary, since the hulking M is really a big softie. Once again, Bruce Wood's super-saturated, digital pictures bubble with a playfully surreal sense of scale, volume and detailing, as he first shows the alphabet quaking in the shadow of M, then the Giant M blubbering-"I have a mother too"-as teardrops splash on the letters' surface. Whether the abecadarian cast is sailing to and from the castle on their pencil rocket, or picking out a present for Charley's mother from Giant M's treasure room (Little f picks a fan, Little n picks a necklace, etc.), every spread is letter-perfect. Ages 3-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews August 1, 2003
Twenty-five lowercase letters go in search of the runaway Little x in the sequel to Alphabet Adventure (2001) by this mother-and-son team. They find him in a castle inhabited by the menacing Master M. “ A little x is just a worthless letter back home.” Little x explains to his pals while dancing on a xylophone for the Mas

The New York Times
Young readers will enjoy matching objects and letters. The special job for x is to represent kisses on a birthday cake that the unseen child prepares for his mother, a sweet job indeed, though I wonder if at a young age I wouldn't have balked at little x appearing multiple times (''I love you Mom xxxx'') on the frosting of the cake. How does he do that? — Paul O. Zelinsky
Publishers Weekly
In this follow-up to Alphabet Adventure, mother and son Woods again unleash young Charley's set of three-dimensional, lower-case letters on what is best described as a why-dunit. When the alphabet takes nightly roll call, something isn't right. Little x is missing, and the other 25 letters set off to track him down. They find him at the spooky castle of the ominously green Giant M (for Master) and discover that their comrade has become a captive but willing court musician ("tap-dancing a lullaby on a xylophone"). "I ran away because Charley never uses me," Little x whines. But when Little i (whose missing dot was the subject of the previous volume) explains Charley's plans for Little x in his mother's birthday surprise, the errant letter agrees to escape-a plan that turns out to be unnecessary, since the hulking M is really a big softie. Once again, Bruce Wood's super-saturated, digital pictures bubble with a playfully surreal sense of scale, volume and detailing, as he first shows the alphabet quaking in the shadow of M, then the Giant M blubbering-"I have a mother too"-as teardrops splash on the letters' surface. Whether the abecadarian cast is sailing to and from the castle on their pencil rocket, or picking out a present for Charley's mother from Giant M's treasure room (Little f picks a fan, Little n picks a necklace, etc.), every spread is letter-perfect. Ages 3-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The little letters of Charley's alphabet go to sleep every night in a long line of bunk beds. After they are tucked in and before they're sound asleep, each one recites his name. But one night there is a letter missing. Who is it? It's little x. It appears that little x has taken Charley's pencil and flown away. Where did he go? All the other little letters jump on another pencil and take off to search for the missing x. Little s spots one of Charley's pencils parked at a castle and the small letters bravely enter the forbidding stone building despite being warned by a crooked capital I that if they wake up the Master they will be "alphabet soup!" This playful book should help youngsters to learn the alphabet and there is a joke based on how difficult it can be to come up with words beginning with x. The digitally generated illustrations are clever and kids will have fun playing the games incorporated into the story. 2003, The Blue Sky Press/Scholastic, Ages 3 to 5.
— Carolyn Mott Ford
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-A story that invites participation and promotes letter recognition. When Little x disappears from Charley's Alphabet, the rest of the letters search for him, finding him in the castle of Master M. To their surprise, he does not want to be rescued, because he is useful there unlike at home, where Charley seldom uses him. When Master M awakes and threatens to use the letters in soup, Little x comes to the rescue and they all return home safely. There, Charley helps his dad decorate a birthday cake for his mother, and he uses Little x four times-because it is the only letter that stands for kisses. As in Alphabet Adventure (Scholastic, 2001), children will work on a skill necessary to begin reading as they enjoy the story and the bright, three-dimensional-looking digital illustrations filled with detail.-Margaret R. Tassia, Millersville University, PA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Twenty-five lowercase letters go in search of the runaway Little x in the sequel to Alphabet Adventure (2001) by this mother-and-son team. They find him in a castle inhabited by the menacing Master M. "A little x is just a worthless letter back home," Little x explains to his pals while dancing on a xylophone for the Master's amusement. "At least here I have a job." Readers will notice that the other letters employ words that begin with their names all the time (" 'This is terrible,' Little T said"). All ends happily, but the story is nothing more than a feeble excuse for the art. The younger Wood's digital illustrations are deliciously crisp and bright. The 3-D-style images pop with detail, giving young readers plenty of opportunity to match letters and objects. Still, it may be a stretch to call this a concept book. (Picture book. 5-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780439443371
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/2003
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 102,730
  • Age range: 3 years
  • Lexile: 430L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 11.00 (w) x 9.92 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author


Audrey Wood has been writing award-winning children's books for more than thirty years, and she is a fourth-generation artist. She often collaborates with her husband, Caldecott Honor illustrator Don Wood (THE NAPPING HOUSE; KING BIDGOOD'S IN THE BATHTUB; IT'S DUFFY TIME!), and she created many bestselling books with their son, Bruce Wood (ALPHABET MYSTERY; TEN LITTLE FISH). Audrey has illustrated numerous popular books herself, including SILLY SALLY, A DOG NEEDS A BONE, and BLUE SKY (2012). She lives with her husband in Hawaii, under the blue sky, rain sky, and changing-all-day sky.

As a fifth-generation professional artist, I grew up with art all around me – in the studios of my parents and grandparents. I have always been very interested in art – it always seemed like a lot of fun.

One of the major advantages of growing up in a family of artists is the support you receive while learning your art form. It was also a unique experience. One year for my birthday, my parents made me a kid-sized cardboard castle out of refrigerator boxes in our backyard. It took me a few years to realize that not all my friends' parents were as creative as mine.

My initial interest in digital art came about at a young age. I started using Commodore 64's when I was eleven or twelve, and by age thirteen, I could do basic programming. Since then, I was always interested in how companies made computer games, and I think that's what ultimately led me to 3-D design.

In 1991, I attended the California Institute of the Arts, where I studied drama and advanced my interest in art created on the computer. Then, in 1993, I decided to enroll in the innovative San Francisco State Multimedia Center, where I pursued my long-standing interest in designing computer programs by studying animation and 3-D modeling.

This year I joined my family's creative team and illustrated my first book, The Christmas Adventure of Space Elf Sam. The book took me over two years to make, and it was a true family collaboration. My mom wrote the story and my dad, Don Wood, functioned as art director.

I love telling stories with my art, and picture books are just that. And of course, I love seeing the face of a young child, sitting on a bookstore floor, completely immersed in a book that I have created.

Aside from being a children's book illustrator, I also surf, snowboard, and sail, which means that I do get to see the sun sometimes.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 13, 2009

    Fun Learning

    My preschool class of 4 year olds love this book. After I've read it to them they like to look at it over and over again together. It is a highly requested book at story time.

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    Posted February 28, 2010

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    Posted May 13, 2010

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    Posted November 25, 2010

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