A debut alphabet book collects photographs of things that haven’t survived the perils of the road.
Though roadkill will likely make most readers cringe, the majority of what appears in this tongue-in-check volume are nontraditional victims. For example, A is for Arm, which is merely the limb from a baby doll lying atop the ground. Similarly, both the Bear and the Lion are of the plush variety. McPherson often tinkers with the notion of roadkill, which isn’t always on or near a street. A broken Tree planter sits among vehicles in a parking lot; a Fly seems to be the victim of a license plate; and a train has apparently left a car in ruins (in this case, X is for railroad crossing). This playfulness carries over to the ABCs as well: Both Coyote and Knight (a plastic toy) are listed under their phonetic spellings (K is for \ki-’o-te\; N is for \’nit\). While the photos occasionally show animals (including the coyote), there is no sign of viscera and hardly any blood. The creatures, like so many things in the book, simply look forlorn. A largely intact and lonely Jack-o’-lantern, for instance, rests in a vacant field; a seemingly empty modular Home has fallen by the side of a road; and a solitary Glove is stuck on a fence. The photos throughout are bright, sharp, and filled with details. (The railroad-crossing shot is by Miille; the rest are by McPherson.) One of the standouts is a Mattress that’s torn with its springs exposed, as if a driver dumped it without even slowing down. But there’s much more to the photo: The Mattress is next to pieces of trash and on a mostly desolate stretch of road save for the ambulance that’s clearly passed it by. In other striking pictures, road signs unfortunately haven’t been very helpful, from the railroad crossing to the stop-ahead one that offered no assistance to what’s now lying in the street.
C is for cheeky and clever; a work that all ages can enjoy.