Hold onto your vowels and get ready for an alphabetic romp—graphic style.
In this wordless pursuit, a hungry boy and girl check the cupboard for food but find only a letter “C.” So they take a basket outside to gather consonants from bushes and trees to make lunch. Then they’re off to the market to add more to their basket. Missing a “Z,” they climb up a hill, where a twisted black bush holds the letter. They return home and scramble up a dish in the kitchen, but it tastes bad, until they realize that DLCS needs VOWELS to become delicious. Cut-paper collage and mixed media carry out this visual venture with basic shapes and dots and lines for eyes and mouths. Some background scenes and people are drawn with just white outlines, and each letter is blocked in different colors. Sharp eyes will notice a clue to the story in the list of letter ingredients the boy and girl make as they leave the kitchen: It contains no vowels. Other graphic alphabets exist (Paul Thurlby’s Alphabet, 2011, is a good recent one), but Gutiérrez’s comic-strip story feels pleasingly fresh. Obviously, this wordless, multipaneled narrative is not for beginners learning the alphabet, but it is an inventive boon for language teachers and others.
This recipe spells out delicious wordplay and appreciation. (Alphabet picture book. 6-8)