Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This alliterative alphabet book takes the reader on a globe-trotting adventure as Lobel sets the stage--literally--to introduce letters and various world cities as well. On each page, a different boy stars under the spotlight before an audience of eager children. A sentence describes each scene: ``Henry hoped in Hollywood''; ``Paul painted in Paris.'' Lobel continually shows the reactions of those in the front row, creating the excitement of a live theater performance. The choices of names and locations run the gamut from commonplace to unusual (Odense, Yakutsk, Zaandam) and may well encourage a hunt through an atlas. Watercolor and gouache paintings are partially framed by bold black strips meant to represent offstage darkness, while the ``backdrops'' of each set depict such impressive landmarks as London Bridge or Moscow's Cathedral of Saint Basil. The illustrations' combination of accuracy and romanticism delivers the right amount of information. Happily, a final page entitled ``Where They Went'' provides interesting facts about each destination. Fans will appreciate this as a companion to Lobel's Alison's Zinnia but newcomers, too, will fully enjoy the trip. Ages 3-up. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Beverly Kobrin
Between Adam's arrival in Amsterdam and Zachary's zagging in Zaandam, a band of beaming boys bounce into 22 other towns in Ms. Lobel's traveling companion to Alison's Zinnia.
Children's Literature - Judith Gravitz
With a witty alliterative pen, Lobel takes readers on a geographical journey through the alphabet. In alphabetical order, boys parade and entertain an audience of children from a staged world. Each boy from Adam to Zachary and from Amsterdam to Zaandam, depicts the local interests and costume of the places they are "visiting." "Paul painted in Paris" shows a boy in a painter's smock with the Cathedral of Notre Dame in the background. Lobel's watercolor and gouache paintings add the visual detail needed to bring these 26 places to life. What makes this alphabet book stand apart is its brief yet succinct geographical glossary in the back. An entertaining alphabet book for the literary wanderer in all readers. No tickets or passport required!
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-This whirlwind journey around the world in 26 letters offers much for the eye in its arresting watercolor-and-gouache paintings. The boys who make the trip (there are no girls) are featured in a variety of architectural settings, one per page, from the great Pyramids at Giza to Moscow's Cathedral of St. Basil. All of the places are explained in a one-page glossary. The format is a stage set, replete with curtains and an appreciative first-row audience of youngsters. As an arty travelogue for parents to read with young children, this is an attractive choice. However, many of the verbs are forced and would be difficult for youngsters to comprehend, such as ``Oliver oscillated in Odense.'' Some of the scenic places pictured, e.g., Xian, China, may be unfamiliar to all but the most sophisticated who, like the author, have had a wide variety of travel experiences. There is, unfortunately, a static quality to the elaborate stage settings that form the backdrops for the characters. Although they reinforce the effect of a performance, they detract from the reality of the world tour. A book that's unlikely to find a wide audience.-Martha Rosen, Edgewood School, Scarsdale, NY
"Adam arrived in Amsterdam," "Vincent vacationed in Venice": for each letter of this alphabetical journey, a theatrical scene shows a boy on stage, under the spotlights, in front of a famous city landmark. Michael moped in Moscow, and the background is a famous cathedral in Red Square. Lloyd limped in London, and behind him is Tower Bridge. At the back of the book is a brief key to "where they went," with a note about each city and any landmarks shown. The alliteration plays with the sound of words and their meaning; the verbs suggest volumes ("Edward escaped in Edinburgh"). Lobel's watercolor and gouache art is lavish, comic, and joyful; and the handsome book design, with a group of kids looking up at the stage and applauding the show, makes clear that each page is a changing stage set. Lobel's "Alison's Zinnia" (1990) used an alphabet of girls' names; here an all-male cast pulls you into imagining each character's story and making the journey to each exciting place.