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Carol Mills. Illustrated by Susanne Ferrier.
Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing, 1984.
unpaged, paperbound boards, $10.95.
ISBN 0-920080-90-1. CIP.

Subject Heading:
English language-Alphabet-Juvenile literature.

Preschool-grade 4 / Ages 3-9

Reviewed by Brenda Watson.

Volume 13 Number 3
1985 May

Each letter of the alphabet is accompanied by a six-line story that repeats the letter many times in a variety of words. Alliteration abounds. As the title suggests, each story is zany, zany being either amusing, ridiculous, or forced. The words featuring each letter are chosen from a large vocabulary and reflect more than the hard and soft sounds of the letters. Blends and irregular combinations also appear such as gherkin and gnome for "G" and knitting and knees for "K". This would be enriching for children already reading who have gone beyond "A is for apple, B is for baby" ABC books. At the same time it could be confusing for beginning readers.

The shiny illustrations by Susanne Ferrier are more satisfying than the text. Deep blue, purples, and greens, plus pastel pinks, yellows, and oranges colour the round, cuddly, big-eyed characters, among them; Goobly Goblin, Percy Panda, and Sister Sally. All of the odd combinations in the stories are illustrated as an interacting whole Xerxes ox, a fox, a xylophone, exercises, and a box come together delightfully to illustrate the story for letter "X". The page size is 8 l/2 by 11 inches with two-thirds devoted to illustration and the story printed in bold black letters on white at the bottom of the page, always framed with a lively border linking it to the illustration. Both upper and lower case letters are used. The binding appears to be substantial.

This is a mature ABC book with engaging illustrations. The text is at times too zany to be effective. but is often amusing and appealing to children.

Brenda Watson, Victoria, BC.
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