ABC by Benedikt Gross
Kirkus Star


The Alphabet from the Sky
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This alphabet book takes the ABCs to new heights—literally.

Aerial color photographs from the United States Geologic Survey offer a bird’s-eye view of various places in the United States from high above, letters of the alphabet “hiding” among the panoramic scenes. On the lower-right corner of each double-page spread is a square inset that identifies the location and map coordinates. For example, the A spread depicts Lake Worth, Florida, from above, an A-shaped subdivision just right of center. In the inset, a white map of the United States sits on a yellow field with a black dot to locate the town; city and state information is also printed, along with geographical data (N 26.5702 and W80.1904). Alphabet letters can be found in the many shapes: subdivisions and single buildings, roads and a power corridor, an island, a golf course, and bodies of water. Some letters jump out more than others, presenting readers with varying challenges. The page composition places a question at the top left as a prompt: “can you spot the A?” The type is a nice, clean Ariel Bold. This concept is an attention-grabbing blend of Stephen Johnson’s Alphabet City (1995) and Roxie Munro’s books of mazes that only the combination of a computational designer (Gross) and a geographer (Lee) could create. Backmatter includes a photo legend that reveals the letters plus two spreads of additional letters without identification, “just for fun.”

This alphabet scavenger hunt will intrigue adults perhaps more than kids, but it’s fascinating and extremely inventive. (Picture book. 5 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 13th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-101-99581-5
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: Price Stern Sloan
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2016


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