Animal Characters: An Alphabet

Animal Characters: An Alphabet

by Jean Christian Knaff

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The concept of this bookby the creator of Manhattanis ordinary and commonplace: one animal for each character in the alphabet. The art, however, is extraordinary and exquisite. Each animal, framed within a geometric plane of color, stands or sits as if posing for a camera. Knaff's conceptual space is highly stylized. Different shades of intense hues are expertly used to produce an opulent texture, reminiscent of color use in ancient Egyptian art. Attention to detail makes this particularly appealing to young readers, who will find the distortions, exaggerations and postures of these unique beings amusing: the baboons' faces are stretched and longer than their bodies, the ostrich has human legs, the iguana is nibbling the dot off the ``i'' and a kangaroo carrries a ``k'' in its pouch. Ages 3-up. (March)
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2 This alphabet book features a menagerie of familiar and unusual animals paired with their corresponding letter of the alphabet. Children may enjoy looking for the letters, which in many cases are used as props for the animals. For example, the whale is ``spouting'' a W; the tigers' noses are formed of Ts. In addition, a corner of each illustration features the upper-case letter appropriately toned to match the animal. A caption identifies each animal. Knaff's primitive paint-and-pastels animals are attractively framed with asymmetrical borders and placed on a background of abstract geometrics. Over-generous use of white space with these earth-tone collages gives them a flat quality. The illustrations themselves have a curiously static appearance. About half of the animals are elongated or otherwise exaggerated to the point of becoming caricatures, and children may be confused as to which illustrations depict the animals realistically. No attempt is made to show the relative sizes of the animals, so a jellyfish appears about as large as the kangaroo on the facing page. This is an imaginative if somewhat flawed attempt. Rely on Suse MacDonald's Alphabatics (Bradbury, 1986) for imagination and Bert Kitchen's Animal Alphabet (Dial, 1984) for a skillful depiction of animals. Joanna G. Jones, Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, N.J.

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Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
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