________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 2 . . . . September 16, 2005

cover ABC x 3: English, Español, Français.

Marthe Jocelyn. Illustrated by Tom Slaughter.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2005.
32 pp., cloth, $18.99.
ISBN 0-88776-707-9.

Subject Headings:
English language-Alphabet-Juvenile literature.
Spanish language-Alphabet-Juvenile literature.
French language-Alphabet-Juvenile literature.
Alphabet books.

Preschool-kindergarten / Ages 2-5.

Review by Lorraine Douglas.

**** /4

Reviewed from uncorrected proofs.


A airplane avión avion

B ball bola balle

C crocodile cocodrilo crocodile

The husband and wife team of Marthe Jocelyn and Tom Slaughter have created another brilliant picture book. Their previous collaborations on the concept books Over Under (Tundra, 2005 ) and One Some Many (Tundra, 2004 ) and Slaughter’s 123 (Tundra, 2003) were original in their conception and presentation of painted paper cuts.


internal art

     Their new trilingual alphabet book, ABC x 3, looks deceptively simple. Each letter of the alphabet is represented by one object or an animal with vocabulary in English, Spanish and French. For example, E is an enormous black elephant/éléfante/elephant. The elephant is almost sniffing the next letter - F for flower/ flor/ fleur! The author constructed the book to accommodate letter combinations like “ll” and “ch” in Spanish which do not appear in the other languages. The text is very easy to read with large sans serif type in upper and lower case for the letters of the alphabet and lower case for the words. ABC x 3 is reminiscent in its charm to Sheldon Oberman’s bilingual alphabet book The Lion in the Lake (Peguis, 1988). It has all the boldness of Lois Ehlert’s artistry while also having the child appeal of Dick Bruna. But it stands on its own with its sophisticated colour combinations, clarity of design and unusual word choices like dice, oval, and even quetzal! The whole result is a playful and amazing look at languages, words and images.

     The strong visual images make this a great naming book for young children as it will develop visual discrimination skills and teach words like jaguar and windsurfer. Art teachers will find it a very useful book for teaching colour theory with its vibrating contrasts and as a great example of the art of paper cuts.

Highly Recommended.

Lorraine is a writer and artist living in Sidney, B.C. She was a children’s librarian and Coordinator of Youth Services at the Winnipeg Public Library.


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