Children's Literature - Heidi Hauser Green
Brian Cleary has built his writing career with books that celebrate language and learning. From synonyms to pronouns, verbs to nouns, adverbs to adjectives, Cleary has covered it alland covered it through a series of books engaged in fun and clever whimsies. In all of these books, he looks at the building blocks of languagethe words that form sentences. Here, in his latest book, Cleary gets down to the basics: the letters of the alphabet, the basis for words. In a work as silly and thrilling as his other books and accompanied by the dynamic, vivid illustrations of Betsy E. Snyder, we get brief alliterative passages that engage the imagination and encourage language exploration. Children will love the book's interactive element: searching for each letter hidden in its accompanying pictures. Adult readers will appreciate the complexity of the illustrations, which keeps a basic, oft-covered topic from seeming mundane.
School Library Journal
PreS - Gr 2 - This ambitious book provides colorful collages, hidden letters, word pictures, and alphabet sentences presented in rhyme while avoiding many of the pitfalls of the genre. By melding together nonsensical sentences that are as wacky as the illustrations, Cleary opens up the field to using verbs and adjectives as well as nouns. "E is for each evergreen Elvis potted." "K starts karate and kangaroos kissing, and kilt-wearing kittens whose kickstands are missing." Both upper- and lowercase are highlighted. The pre-title page invites readers to play along. "Every letter of the alphabet is hidden in the pictures of this book. So are many things that start with each letter." The endpapers list the many objects, including 10 "N" things, 6 "Z" things, and 6 things with "X" in them. For some reason, "G" is squeezed onto the page with "F" and "H," with only five items (including the name of the gerbil). The rhythm of the rhyme falters here, as well. Overall, though, this book will round out an alphabet theme or stand alone as a fun read.-June Wolfe, Bushnell-Sage Library, Sheffield, MACopyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Billing itself as "very silly" isn't an exaggeration for this zany alphabet book as it pairs letters with corresponding offbeat combinations like Elvis with evergreens and newts with necklaces. Written in a rhythmic rhyme that conjures the verse of Edward Lear, this text reads like a tongue twister and would work best aloud, except when transitioning from the letter G to H, where the rhyme breaks down completely, potentially leaving even an experienced reader tongue-tied. Bright, digital collage illustrations, which experiment with textual patterns and bold colors, can be seen from a distance and sync up well with the text. A short introduction invites readers to pick out slightly hidden elements that reflect the corresponding letter on each page. Busy endpapers provide answers for this challenge, potentially building vocabulary and reinforcing letters. Playful and fun. (Picture book. 4-6)