How far can an alphabet concept be stretched?
The artifice of the title is a clue. Elegant, sophisticated digital illustrations combine alphabet letters with animal shapes in an art deco style that creates posterlike images. Complementing the artwork is the color palette filled with fancy shades from the more exotic reaches of an extra-large box of crayons. Some of the animal colorations are atypical, such as the zebra’s, which is painted with dark- and light-blue stripes that make it pop against a crimson background. The soft, blue-hued manatee on the cover is attractive and will have readers wondering what it is. The recto of each double-page spread is a full-page representation of the creature, while the verso displays the blocky uppercase letter on a white background above the animal’s name printed in a delicate, stylized typeface (the “I” and “J” of which are almost identical), which is followed by a brief, poetic description. For example, “Crocodile / Lurking in the murky depths, / a crocodile basks in the midday sun. / Her long, strong body is as still as a log, / but she’s waiting, watching, set to strike / and snatch her prey in snapping jaws.” The animals vary in recognizability, with fox, giraffe, and penguin on the better-known end of the spectrum and quoll and urial on the other end.
Adult aficionados of art books are likely to appreciate this endeavor more than children will. (Picture book. 3-5)