ABC by Elizabeth Cleaver


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This small, square (5 ¬ x 5 ¬) alphabet book is covered in paper over boards, and won't withstand rough treatment (through the signatures are firmly sewn); but what it offers, at a modest price, is a group of 24 brilliant collage-miniatures, each composed of objects beginning (in trusty ABC fashion) with a single letter. To start at the zingo end, Z is represented by a zera leaping out of a zippered page; the dominant colors are tomato red, tangerine, and for the lordly letter Z, lime green. (All the letters are similarly imposing, and part of the ensemble.) The number of objects varies, and they may or may not have a natural relationship. Almost all are easily recognizable, however--and the more arresting (like the tomato, toy soldier, teddy bear, and tree) for not belonging together. Apart from being three-dimensional collages, many of the pictures contain real objects: a needle, a paper clip, a key. But the binding element is what can now be called--in reference to Cleaver's illustrations for The Loon's Necklace, and the work of others--bold Canadian coloring and design. Each little page, viewed close-up as it should be, delivers an intimate punch.

Pub Date: March 12th, 1985
Publisher: Atheneum