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The ABCs have never had it so good. Created by two of today’s wittiest, most imaginative minds, The Alphabet from A to Y with Bonus Letter Z! is a sheer delight from A to Z. In twenty-six alliterative couplets, Steve Martin conjures up much more than mere apples and zebras. Instead we meet Horace the ...
The ABCs have never had it so good. Created by two of today’s wittiest, most imaginative minds, The Alphabet from A to Y with Bonus Letter Z! is a sheer delight from A to Z. In twenty-six alliterative couplets, Steve Martin conjures up much more than mere apples and zebras. Instead we meet Horace the hare, whose hairdo hides hunchbacks, and Ollie the owl, who owed Owen an oboe. Roz Chast contributes the perfect visual settings for Martin’s zany two-liners. Her instantly recognizable drawings are packed with humorous touches both broad and subtle.
Each rereading—and there will be many—delivers new delights and discoveries. There, hidden behind Bad Baby Bubbleducks, is a framed picture of a beatnik holding balloons; and the letter C finds clunky Clarissa all clingy and clueless adrift in a landscape cluttered with images ranging from a curiously comfortable clown to Chuck’s Chili stand. A smart, laugh-inducing introduction to the alphabet for young children, The Alphabet from A to Y with Bonus Letter Z! will also enchant adults with its matchless mix of the sophisticated and the silly.
Actor, playwright and novelist Martin (Shopgirl) branches into picture books for this nutty abecedary. No humdrum "A is for apple" list, this volume faces outrageous, alliterative couplets with full-page cartoons approximating the situations they describe. Known for skewering middle-class anxieties, Chast (Meet My Staff) ably sketches scenes of kitchen mayhem ("Friday when Frank fixed frijoles and French fries/ His fiancée Franny was covered in fruit flies") and pictures the main office for Xerxes Xylophones, where a bizarre X-perience unfolds ("Ambidextrous Alex was actually axed/ For waxing, then faxing, his boss's new slacks"). She also supplements the nonsense rhymes with added images of items that start with the highlighted letter (when "Quincy the kumquat querie[s] the queen," readers see a bookshelf of tomes on quintuplets, quantum mechanics and quartz). Martin and Chast show their mettle as each other's wacky sidekicks, performing for an all-ages crowd. Adults see two well-known artists at work, creating mind-bending tableaux, while children get a taste of original tongue-twisters. This peculiar and funny book resembles a round of the Surrealists' game of exquisite cadaver or Mad Libs, worked out in a dizzying combination of words and pictures. All ages. (Oct.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Posted December 30, 2011
My two year old grandson demands this book every night. He is adept at pointing to all the absurd details that abound on every page. At first glance it's definitely not on a toddler's level, but somehow it transcends and mesmerizes. Even those of us who have memorized the book due to repetition still laugh and delight at Martin's quick wit and his way with words and the even wilder illustrations by Roz Chast. I hope there are more collaborations on the way.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 25, 2008
Posted October 24, 2007
Steve Martin lends his wit and wisdom to a new children's book. Not your mother's alphabet book, but one that's original,fresh, and creatively funny. Steve displays his writing skills in a new genre. Great book for the young and young at heart. Way to go, Steve!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 29, 2009
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