PreS-Gr 1—This concept book matches letters of the alphabet with interesting animals. A jolly jackal looks on as "joyful, jumping mice" cavort on a jello mold, a mouse asks the cost of a mammoth, and a vulture visits a vet that is a Viking vole. Each spread features capital letters in red and a lively scene involving interactions with one to four animals. The letter C is used to describe a "cosy cobra curled up in a comfy chair." Its eyes are closed, its tail is in a checkered slipper, and parts of its body are wrapped around a teddy bear and a hot drink. N, O, and P feature an outraged owl being forced off a dock by a pirate penguin, a panther, and a narwhal. The rhyming text is abundant with adjectives and alliteration. Fuge's animals communicate a variety of emotions (fear, happiness and worry), but when they gather together to see the animal that starts with the letter Z zoom past them, they all look surprised. Readers will likely express a similar sentiment.—Tanya Boudreau, Cold Lake Public Library, AB, Canada
Alliteration and rhyme abound in Fuge's latest, an abecedarian salute to anthropomorphized animals.
Fuge provides a nice mix of animals, including aardark, cobra, narwhal, sloth and vole, and readers will be pleasantly shocked to learn that Z is not for zebra. The author neatly sidesteps the difficulties of coming up with animals for all the letters (E is for egg). Large, red capital letters make it easy for learners to pick out the alphabet, while the text reinforces the sounds those letters make. Unfortunately, not every letter gets its own treatment: "G, girl gorilla, / H and I, hare on ice, / J, jolly jackal and his joyful, jumping mice." While the rhyme sometimes stumbles (unicorn rhymed with Vaughn), the rollicking rhythm of the verses keeps the text moving, which is good, as page turns do not advance any sort of story—the stand-alone spreads rely on humor rather than narrative to engage audiences. The illustrations provide this whimsy, featuring realistically detailed animals partnered with amusing touches that bring the words to life—the pirate panther sports a gold hoop in his ear, while the dancing dodo is not complete without his straw hat and cane.
Cute enough, but not likely to inspire repeated readings. (Picture book. 3-6)