McMillan's ingenious alphabet is composed of 26 crisp close-ups of the Portland, Maine, symphony in action--or, more accurately, of individual instruments or parts of instruments whose shapes resemble the 26 letters, respectively. Below each photo, instead of the usual conventionalized A, B, or C, McMillan isolates in silhouette the particular feature or configuration that mimics it. Thus an upright bass clarinet is clearly seen as a ""J,"" three violin bows held at different angles form an ""N,"" and the tuning screw on a kettledrum makes a ""T."" Sometimes the musicians are part of the picture: three fingers pressing the valves on a trumpet make a lower case ""m,"" a cellist, knee flexed, bends over his instrument to form an ""R,"" and for ""G"" McMillan steps back to show the first group of strings in a semi-circle around the conductor at his stand. The intelligent selection of shots results in a stimulating exercise in perception, and for the musically unsophisticated each instrument is identified and shown in full on a final double page--but, alas, the letter-shaped parts are not named. This is a pity, as it's a rare child who will not ask ""What is it?"" and a rare parent who will know all the answers. This won't be anyone's first ABC in any case, but in proper hands (music teacher?) it could be a resounding success.