In rhyming text, this nontraditional alphabet book playfully depicts a thief in the act of stealing the letters of the alphabet from A to Z.
“The Alphabet Thief stole all of the A’s, / And all of the coats became cots. / All of the fairs were turned into firs, / And all of the boats became bots.” The verse never falters as the thief makes her way through the alphabet. Clever handling of the letter Q pairs it with U, turning “queasy” into “easy” and “squash” into “sash.” What the black-cloaked thief doesn’t see is that she is being followed by the narrator, a red-haired, white sleuth in beret and ponytail with a dog sidekick. Can they stop this terrible thief? Of course. The gumshoe takes all the Y’s and Z’s, turns them into slingshots and “ammo” and fires them at the thief, who promptly falls asleep. The ink-and-watercolor illustrations share space with the text in energetically varied layouts, the diminutive trim reminiscent of the old Nutshell Library books. The ending poses a small problem for libraries by addressing readers: “And who was the hero who saved the day? / It was me! You can write my name here.”
While the larger format of the similarly themed Take Away the A, by Michaël Escoffier and Kris Di Giacomo (2014), is more suitable for group sharing, this sneaky romp will do well one-on-one. (Picture book. 5-8)