The Graphic Alphabet

The Graphic Alphabet

4.0 2
by David Pelletier
This elegant alphabet is for those who long ago mastered their ABCs but never outgrew their passion for discovering beauty in unexpected places.


This elegant alphabet is for those who long ago mastered their ABCs but never outgrew their passion for discovering beauty in unexpected places.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This arresting alphabet book is far removed from the ``A is for Apple'' school of abecedaries. Here, A is for Avalanche, and the churning snow in the accompanying illustration crumbles from the summit of an A-shaped mountain. B is for Bounce, and the arcing path of a blue ball loops to form the outer curves of that letter. Each of the 26 letters is thus ingeniously featured in an illustration that represents the word in question. Glossy and elegant, Pelletier's debut work is striking for the clean lines of its images and the overarching simplicity of its composition. Each letter is showcased against a sleek black background, vivid colors against a square of darkness. There is humor here, too: set sideways, the letter D glows as a horned red devil; in a ghoulish X ray two bony fingers overlap to form an X. Even so, this book is too sophisticated for kids just learning their ABC's; it may best suit older children with an interest in art and adults with an interest in graphic design. All ages. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Catherine Campbell Wright
Young and old will be fascinated by Pelletier's clever new take on the letters of the alphabet. The letter H "hovers" in blackness, while I the "iceberg" slowly bobs in the frozen night water. Letters D, R, V, and X will amaze older readers, while younger ones will love F, M, O, and all the rest. Pelletier's imagination and talent are startling. A "must have" for fans of alphabet books!
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 1 Up-Graphic designer David Pelletier has created a striking and imaginative concept book. Against a stark, black backdrop, each vibrantly colored letter of the alphabet interprets a single word. The words are serendipitous. There appears to be no theme or criteria for their selection. Although they are mostly nouns, e.g., avalanche, devil, mountains, and edge, an occasional verb materializes (e.g., hover and juggle). This free association of words, the mixture of parts of speech, and the sophisticated visuals may be confusing to very young children, but the designs are fascinating. It is the graphics that give the book continuity. In a minimalistic fashion, intriguing shapes and spatial elements have been conceived. Like Chris Van Allsburg's The Z Was Zapped (Houghton, 1987) and Stephen Johnson's Alphabet City (Viking, 1995), this book challenges the mind and eye through the artist's unique perspective. It could elicit some interesting discussions as to the effectiveness of each design and why it works. A fine choice for examining the creative use of line, form, and space.-Carol Schene, Taunton Public Schools, MA
Kirkus Reviews
This clever, at times challenging, alphabet book is as graphically beautiful as Chris Van Allsburg's The Z Was Zapped (1987). Newcomer Pelletier's presentation is all spareness and subtlety, asking onlookers to determine the letter from the picture, and supplying one-word clues. A spalls off pieces to become an avalanche; I is a submerged rectangle drifting through blue waters under a full moon in a night sky—iceberg; the M has snow-capped peaks, and appears with the word Mountains. A number of the letters are displayed at unusual angles—the P cants to become a pipe; for L, lines in turquoise and white form delicate edges for four squares of black. The choices convey a wonderful sense of the adaptability of letters, and, by association, of words. The letters will inspire dialogue when shared, e.g., Why is the I submerged so deep? Equally cunning are letters like R, a jagged rip of fiery red, or the crossed fingers on an X-ray image. They take a little time to decipher; for those already accomplished at ABC basics, the extra work will be worth every minute.

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.84(w) x 9.88(h) x 0.36(d)
1000L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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Graphic Alphabet 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The pictures and words really work together to help a child understand the alphabet. On each page, the author gives a word that begins with the next letter in the alphabet. Then, the word is drawn in a picture above it. Within the picture, you can see the letter that it starts with.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a 1997 Caldecott Honor Book. It is appropriate for children ages 5-8. It is a picture book and is filled with beautiful distinct about each letter of the alphabet. The pictures are creative and imaginative. It is unlike any other picture book I have ever seen. I think anyone who has a love for art will love this book. David Pelletier is a graphic designer living and working in New York City. This is his first book and his inspiration was his interest in letterforms and in the relationship between image and meaning. Pelletier, David. The Graphic Alphabet. New York: Orchard Books, 1996.