Twenty-six pop-up letters—both resolutely minimalist and a tour de force of paper design.
Gathered into a small, square volume, the pop-up letters are all capitals and take up one spread each with printed capital and lowercase characters in the lower corner. The rectos are all white, the versos a solid color that is often echoed in the architectural counters or eyes in the central figures. Sometimes, though, Hawcock only suggests his letterforms with cut edges and negative spaces; a technique that works nicely for “C” and “E” but leaves “K” just a set of abstract angles and “R” with a solid top and no distinct lower leg. He also makes inventive use of origami folds—earning style points with reverse-folded colored counters for “B” and “O,” for instance, and crafting “X” simply from the unmarked top ridges of a water bomb base. Readers may be drawn to this as a sometimes-challenging exercise in letter recognition, but it also provides food for thought about ways in which artists can get away from drawn lines and use space, straight or curved edges, and color to create a broad range of forms.
An ingenious, if unevenly successful, showpiece. (Pop-up alphabet book. 3 & up)