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Once Upon an Alphabet: Short Stories for All the Letters
     

Once Upon an Alphabet: Short Stories for All the Letters

5.0 3
by Oliver Jeffers (Illustrator)
 

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Perfect for gift-giving, here isTHE alphabet book to top all others, an over-sized work of brilliance from the illustrator of the #1 New York Times bestselling The Day the Crayons Quit!
 
If words make up the stories and letters make up the words, then stories are made up of letters. In this menagerie we have stories made of words,

Overview

Perfect for gift-giving, here isTHE alphabet book to top all others, an over-sized work of brilliance from the illustrator of the #1 New York Times bestselling The Day the Crayons Quit!
 
If words make up the stories and letters make up the words, then stories are made up of letters. In this menagerie we have stories made of words, made FOR all the letters.

The most inventive and irresistible book of the year spans a mere 26 letters (don't they all!) and 112 pages. From an Astronaut who's afraid of heights, to a Bridge that ends up burned between friends, to a Cup stuck in a cupboard and longing for freedom, Once Upon an Alphabet is a creative tour de force from A through Z. Slyly funny in a way kids can't resist, and gorgeously illustrated in a way readers of all ages will pour over, this series of interconnected stories and characters explores the alphabet in a way that will forever raise the bar.
 
In Once Upon an Alphabet, #1 New York Times bestseller Oliver Jeffers has created a stunning collection of words and artwork that is a story book, alphabet book, and gorgeously designed art book all in one.

Praise for ONCE UPON AN ALPHABET:

An Amazon Best Book of 2014!

A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year!

School Library Journal Best Book of the Year!

A New York Times Bestseller!

• "The silly, spare, slightly surreal text occasionally rhymes and endlessly surprises. An utterly delightful alphabet book."–Kirkus Review, starred review

• "With wry humor, equally droll ink illustrations, and a solid dose of alliteration, Jeffers creates delightful mini-narratives for each letter of the alphabet."–Publishers Weekly, starred review 

* "An altogether stimulating, surprising, and satisfying reading experience."–School Library Journal, starred review

• "Whimsical, funny, occasionally tragic, and highly entertaining, this collection of (sometimes) interlocking tales is brilliantly inventive."–Horn Book, starred review

"Jeffers knows how to catch the attention of his young audience while challenging their imagination, intellect and vocabulary. This whimsical exploration of letters and language begs to be read over and over again."–BookPage

"Handsome, humorous and clad in bright tomato-red, [this] is the sort of book you may want to rush into the arms of imaginative, good-natured children between 4 and 10 years old. [T]his is no traditional abecedarian exercise.The stories are wonderfully varied, sometimes philosophical and often end surprisingly; the drawings are just as quirky and unpredictable."–The Wall Street Journal

"[W]itty from A to Z . . . no one would blame you for having a copy even if there are no kids in the house. Think of it as Edward Gorey for the preschool set — and their hip parents."–The Washington Post

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 10/20/2014
With wry humor, equally droll ink illustrations, and a solid dose of alliteration, Jeffers (the Hueys series) creates delightful mini-narratives for each letter of the alphabet. In the B story, "Burning a Bridge," the antagonistic relationship between neighbors Bernard and Bob reaches a breaking point: "But Bob learned an important lesson that day" after he burns down the bridge separating their homes—and traps himself on Bernard's side. In addition to the rampant alliteration in the stories and poems ("Mary is made of matter./ So is her mother./ And her mother's moose"), Jeffers's illustrations are full of unnamed people and objects that correspond to each letter, providing opportunities for interactive reading. Grim touches appear here and there—because half of Helen's house fell into the sea, getting up on the wrong side of the bed proves disastrous—but the overall mood is one of playful mischief. One thing is certain: if Jeffers's determined problem-solving duo, Owl and Octopus—who pop up throughout, rescuing drowning cucumbers and recovering stolen x-ray glasses—don't get to headline future books of their own, it'll be downright criminal. Ages 3–5. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
Praise for ONCE UPON AN ALPHABET:

An Amazon Best Book of 2014!

Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year!

School Library Journal Best Book of the Year!

• "The silly, spare, slightly surreal text occasionally rhymes and endlessly surprises. An utterly delightful alphabet book."–Kirkus Review, starred review

• "With wry humor, equally droll ink illustrations, and a solid dose of alliteration, Jeffers creates delightful mini-narratives for each letter of the alphabet."–Publishers Weekly, starred review 

* "An altogether stimulating, surprising, and satisfying reading experience."–School Library Journal, starred review

• "Whimsical, funny, occasionally tragic, and highly entertaining, this collection of (sometimes) interlocking tales is brilliantly inventive."–Horn Book, starred review

"Jeffers knows how to catch the attention of his young audience while challenging their imagination, intellect and vocabulary. This whimsical exploration of letters and language begs to be read over and over again."–BookPage

"Handsome, humorous and clad in bright tomato-red, [this] is the sort of book you may want to rush into the arms of imaginative, good-natured children between 4 and 10 years old. [T]his is no traditional abecedarian exercise.The stories are wonderfully varied, sometimes philosophical and often end surprisingly; the drawings are just as quirky and unpredictable."–The Wall Street Journal

"[W]itty from A to Z . . . no one would blame you for having a copy even if there are no kids in the house. Think of it as Edward Gorey for the preschool set — and their hip parents."–The Washington Post 

"Jeffers knows how to catch the attention of his young audience while challenging their imagination, intellect and vocabulary. This whimsical exploration of letters and language begs to be read over and over again."--Book Page

School Library Journal
★ 10/01/2014
Gr 1–4—Jeffers's empathic nature, evident from his sympathetic renderings of Drew Daywalt's beleaguered crayons in The Day the Crayons Quit (Philomel, 2013), here extends to the hardworking letters. This eccentric and entertaining anthology is introduced by an eloquent syllogism about the relationship of letters, words, and stories. While each four-page tale showcases a (seemingly) hand-drawn capital and lowercase letter, and many of the words—and unnamed objects—begin with the corresponding letter, this is not your mother's abecedarium. It is a framework for Jeffers's intriguing worldview, combining ludicrous juxtapositions and situations and a great capacity for gentleness. Some passages are scientific: "Mary is made of matter….she got sucked through a microscope and became the size of a molecule." The facing page shows Mary floating under the lens. The blackboard-style background is filled with "molecular" diagrams (mattresses, a moose, mums). Other sections are a mite macabre: "Jack Stack the Lumberjack has been struck by lightning one hundred and eleven times…." The lightning illuminates a skeleton, but after the page turn, the man appears in his jammies, normal, except that he can provide his own electricity. There is humor in the alliteration and mixed-media scenes: a puzzled parsnip, Victor the vanquished "plotting his vengeance," and an enigma featuring elephants and envelopes. The author respects his readers' intelligence, inserting expansive vocabulary, cameos from characters in previous books, people and plot threads that cross stories, and quiet details to discover in subsequent readings. An altogether stimulating, surprising, and satisfying reading experience.—Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-08-12
This amazing "menagerie" presents an original story for all 26 letters of the alphabet. Opening with A, "An Astronaut" tells of astronaut-in-training Edmund, hampered by his fear of heights. "Cup in the Cupboard" for letter C relates the sad story of Cup, whose move from cupboard to windowsill ends disastrously. In "Danger Delilah," letter D introduces a fearless superheroine, while L's tale, "The Lumberjack's Light," stars Jack, struck by lightning so often he doesn't need a plug for his light. "An Enigma" for letter E asks "[h]ow many elephants can you fit inside an envelope," referring readers to letter N and "Nearly Nine Thousand" for the answer. In letter J's, "Jelly Door," Jemima makes her front door out of jelly to make retrieving forgotten keys easy, while in letter K's, "The King," a king forgets his keys. The 26 amusing ministories come full circle with letter Z's, "Zeppelin," in which astronaut Edmund returns aboard a zeppelin. The silly, spare, slightly surreal text occasionally rhymes and endlessly surprises. Jeffers introduces each letter and story title on a separate, colored page, featuring the letter in childlike lettering. Deceptively naïve pen, ink and watercolor illustrations in subdued blacks and grays on white backgrounds add to the overall whimsy. Reappearing visual elements provide intertextual humor. An utterly delightful alphabet book. (Picture book. 5-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399167911
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
10/14/2014
Pages:
112
Sales rank:
66,185
Product dimensions:
9.50(w) x 12.40(h) x 0.80(d)
Lexile:
AD630L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 - 5 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"Jeffers knows how to catch the attention of his young audience while challenging their imagination, intellect and vocabulary. This whimsical exploration of letters and language begs to be read over and over again."—Book Page

Meet the Author

Oliver Jeffers (www.oliverjeffersworld.com) creates art for children and adults alike. His picture books, including Stuck, Lost and Found, How to Catch a Star, The Incredible Book Eating Boy, This Moose Belongs to Me, and The Day the Crayons Quit (a #1 bestseller) written by Drew Daywalt), have garnered multiple starred reviews and spots on the New York Times bestseller list. The Hueys in: The New Sweater was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year in 2012. Oliver also hand-lettered the lyric video for U2's single, "Ordinary Love."Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Oliver now lives and creates art in Brooklyn, New York.

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Once Upon an Alphabet: Short Stories for All the Letters 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Delightfully weird in the tradition of Edward Gorey but also uniquely Jeffers. I wonder about the uses for this as it is quite bulky but I suppose it could be read in any number of ways. I like the over-arching nature of the stories (particularly the Owl and the Octopus) and how some letters (E and N) tie back to each other. Very, very clever. You can sort of see how all of Jeffers' other works have been moving toward this one. I also feel like there is something to be done here integrating this one with work on flash fiction.
teachersMom More than 1 year ago
My daughter is a teacher and this book is on her "must have" list.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Once Upon An Alphabet Oliver Jeffers Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers This book allows the alphabet to come alive in a whole new way. Each letter of the alphabet has its there own story, and some of the stories of the letters connect. An example of one of the stories that I enjoyed is letter C. Letter C is about cup in the cupboard. This short story is about a cup that lives in a dark cupboard and has always dreamed of living near the window. When the cup decides to move near the window, he jumps out the cupboard and breaks. The illustrations really make this book phenomenal. The illustrations fill up the whole page and really help children understand what is going on, even if they cannot read the words in the book yet. The illustrations are all different based on what the story is for each letter, but throughout the book, Jeffers uses pale pastel colors for his illustrations, which I feel make the stories more interesting. This book is a great source to teach children the alphabet and allows the child to learn new words that start with the same letter of the alphabet that they are reading about. The book has amazing illustrations and has very funny stories, making it an excellent book all in all. BIBLIO: 2014, Penguin Group, Ages 5 to 10, $18.10. REVIEWER: Tayler Caulder FORMAT: Picture Book ISBN: 978-0-698-19630-8