CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 4 . . . . October 13, 2006
This ABC book by Toronto artist and author Martin Springett is exceptional for several reasons. Firstly, it is the first time Springett has written as well as illustrated a book for children.
Secondly, he has managed to incorporate a story along with his pictures while still keeping his alphabetical sequence. And thirdly, his pictures are full of delightful details: elves and imps, fairies, trolls, gnomes, giants and ogres sit and stroll through his colourful full page illustrations.
The story involves a small dragon who is searching for his flame. His travels take him through a myriad of medieval landscapes, including a royal palace, a street carnival, fields peopled with knights and knaves, and woods with mad magicians or gentle giants. He finally finds his flame in a vermillion volcano.
Besides its clever wording, this ABC book is also special because of the multitude of words and objects of the same letter that appear on each page. "W", for instance, has "Write the wizard to wake the West Wind" and the inscription "Westerly wind wanted" appears in the sky. Young readers will enjoy finding numerous words that match the letter on that page.
Springett's artwork, which has been seen on the covers of many fantasy novels, is rich and vibrant. Children will love its deep colours and quirky details, like an imp (a small elf) chasing a butterfly, or a pair of imps having tea with a frog in a corner of one picture. This is an ABC book which young readers will return to again and again.
Helen Norrie, a former teacher-librarian, writes a monthly children’s books column for the Winnipeg Free Press.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.