K-Gr 2-The rhymes in this well-designed alphabet book, one for each letter, are loosely organized around a host of animals offering birthday greetings. The verses, pedestrian at best, struggle awkwardly at times to fit the theme and even to rhyme, as in: ``X is here to mark the spot/Where animals are always not./But absence is a thing quite pleasant/When it holds your birthday present.'' The illustrations of animals in period costumes (the periods are not identified) are meticulously executed in pen and ink and watercolors. Although the animals' expressions are droll and charming, the emphasis on the details of their clothing will probably appeal more to adults than to preschoolers. With a plethora of wonderful ABC books from which to choose, most librarians will see no reason to purchase this uneven effort.-Sue Norris, Rye Free Reading Room, NY
With consistency in style and tone, this sprightly excursion through the alphabet is a combination of giddy verse and handsome pen-and-ink drawings. Each framed illustration, rich with soft color and delicate, sometimes cross-hatched lines, features a charming animal in natty eighteenth-century attire. It begins with "the Alligator who accidentally ate his waiter," but there's also room for "the tall Giraffe, who has a long and throaty laugh," as well as "the Weasel, cunning master of the easel." A clever concept executed in a striking theatrical design.