Only occasional flashes of cleverness illuminate this parable of warring camps uniting in the face of a common threat. The...

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THE WAR BETWEEN THE VOWELS AND THE CONSONANTS

Only occasional flashes of cleverness illuminate this parable of warring camps uniting in the face of a common threat. The uneasy truce between the aristocratic vowels and the plebian consonants finally breaks down into open warfare, but at the advent of a giant scribble (oxymoronically described as ""zigs and zags with no form at all""), they join together to ""STOP"" the monster and bid it ""GO AWAY."" ""'I can't fight that,' whimpered the jumble. 'Next they'll make paragraphs . . . pages . . . chapters . . . '"" Sprouting stick limbs and large hats, the letters, uppercase if adult, lowercase when young, swarm antlike across cleanly drawn backdrops. ""Just think what we can accomplish together,"" enthuses the Supreme Command to the Commander in Chief. ""The poems! The plays! Our memoirs!"" Actually, even careless readers will notice that both sides have been using each other right along in speech, an evidently unintended paradox. Next to books like Eve Merriam's Fighting Words (1992) or Bill Martin and John Archambault's Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (1989), the language play here seems clumsy.

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 1996

ISBN: 0374482179

Page Count: 32

Publisher: "Farrar, Straus & Giroux"

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996