A puzzle book, an alphabet book, a tribute to William Caslon (who designed this classic alphabet), a carefully staged series of surreal dramatic events, a sequence of imaginative visual images--this is as intriguing as any of Van Allsburg's books. Each three-dimensional letter is presented on a proscenium stage at a moment of peril, if not disaster: ""B was badly bitten. . .C was cut to ribbons la felicitious festoon of shavings]. . .F was firmly flattened [by a forceful, firm foot]. . .U was abruptly uprooted [from the pot where it's apparently been long established]"" and, in case there's any doubt that these letters live, when X is inevitably x-rayed, human-like bones are revealed. The white, meticulously formed letters are displayed against sculptural stage curtains; the soft shading and use of shadows that serve the design without revealing consistent sources of light contribute to the sense of mysterious timelessness. Placing the text that captions each illustration on the next overleaf encourages guessing at the author's descriptions, which are always amusingly apt but never the only possibility. Whimsical, sophisticated, this should appeal to a wide audience, from those amused by mayhem in an unusual context to the many fans of this uniquely creative artist.