The key to this alphabet book is the word “noisy” in the subtitle.
The cover sets the scene as a team of idiosyncratic robots uses cranes and pulleys to hoist the letters that make up the title into place. Within, they drill, hammer and rivet each large letter, winding up with a full alphabet at the end. And it is noisy: Rather than representing objects in the way of a typical alphabet-book, each letter stands for a sound. Though some are predictable and nicely robotic (C is for “Clang,” “Clink,” “Crash,” and “Clank”), others are not at all expected. E is for “Eek”; I for “ick”; J for “Jolt”; M for “meep” (a robot fart); Y for “Yoink.” X is for “EXplode.” At first the device isn’t obvious, so readers will need to pay attention as the scenes develop. Each robot is constructed differently—there are both people and animal robots—and has a specific task that interacts with another. The robot atop the letter D is leaking oil (“drip drop”), which a robot with vacuum hose arms is sucking up. The double-page spreads of pen, ink and oil on board illustrations that create the assemblage of mechanical creatures will appeal to robot fans. Small details appear here and there, such as the mechanical duck that appears with both D and Q, and the blueprint endpapers add a clever touch.
Gadget-minded kids will get a kick out of guessing what sounds come next. (Alphabet book. 5-9)