A veritable feast for the eye, this inventive abecedary is crammed with visual delights. Sneed (Smoky Mountain Rose) blends paints and pencils for a series of tantalizing spreads chock-full of letter-coded objects. A quick scan of the "A" page, for instance, immediately reveals an acrobat, airplane and alligator, but a closer look uncovers an angelfish, argyle socks, accordion, etc. Most of the objects are in black-and-white, which provides a stimulating contrast to each page's central representative object, rendered in color and shaped to form the letter itself. Thus a caterpillar is bent in a C-curve, while the bill of a cap and the arm of a fisherman form the twin prongs of the letter F. Sneed shoehorns in plenty of humor with puckish caricatures and silly situations (a lady who lunches holds a leashed lion). Except for a key at the back, the book is wordless, helping the book transcend age ranges. It offers equal enjoyment for those newly acquainted with the alphabet and for the well-versed (who will find plenty to challenge them, including "vaccinate," "monarch," "goslings," "ibis" and "uvula"). Youngest readers will have fun spotting the mouse at the bottom of each page, who pulls a wagon carrying each of the letters. Ages 4-up. (June) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
K-Gr 2-A winning, wacky alphabet book. Like Graeme Base's Animalia (Abrams, 1987) or Chris Van Allsburg's Z Was Zapped (Houghton, 1987), this is the sort of puzzle book that lures readers across ages and abilities. Each letter is given its own page of puzzles; the letter's shape is outlined through the use of color-two open-mouthed hippos, for instance, form the letter H-and tucked around the colored form are wonderful black-and-white images, in this case a hula dancer and haystacks and a helicopter and . Two mice show up throughout the book and form a running gag. Sneed plays with words and perspective in his stunning colored pencil, watercolor, gouache, and graphite illustrations and the result is an imaginative alphabetic romp.-Kathleen Whalin, York Public Library, ME Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
An entrancingly designed alphabet book that will keep young (and old) peering at and poring over it for a long time. There are no words (except at the end), just the letters of the alphabet. Some get one page, some two, some share. For each, a detailed montage in grisaille is full of objects and activities that begin with the featured letter. Each page also has superimposed on it a full-color figure in the shape of its namesake: G, for example, is a golfer, with his swinging club and the green grass forming a clearly defined letter. Along the bottom of each page, two mice scamper. One has a cart of letters, which he places along the bottom so the alphabet grows as the pages proceed. The mouse's antics reflect the letter: he juggles the letter J, kicks the letter K, and for N, he takes a nap. His companion mouse is usually within the picture somewhere: lodged in the hat of the quartet for Q, driving the toy train with an engineer's cap on his head for T. The style is exaggerated and obsessively detailed, and it is hard not to be amused by one or another of the mice (that's one turning a cartwheel on C). The last page lists all the words illustrated on each page that begin with its letter-and they aren't just nouns, which is an added plus. O for original and offbeat. (Alphabet picture book. 3-7)