Viano interprets the letters with dramatic paper cuttings in a sophisticated, artistic style.
Each page is bordered in black with stylized images that resemble poster art of the early 1900s, but they are crafted with a contemporary graphic style with striking results. The words chosen for the letters all relate to nature, as the subtitle suggests. Most of them will be familiar to young readers such as “dandelion,” “fawn,” “grass,” “lightning bug,” and “violet.” Pleasingly, K is for “kids,” underscoring the importance of the outdoors to child development. Viano’s liberal approach makes the typically difficult letters relatively easy: there is “Queen Anne’s lace,” “underground,” and “lynx” (for X). The top of each page cites a capital and lowercase letter, with the key word opposite and descriptive sentences running across the bottom that often offer tantalizing facts. “This NEST belongs to paper wasps and is made from a mixture of chewed-up wood and spit.” The images are similar to Nikki McClure’s, made by cutting black paper and then coloring the resulting negative space digitally. The swirling school of herring is simply astounding. While adults are more likely to appreciate the artwork than children, the elegance of the images will leave an imprint with even very young listeners.
Rate this book with an A and an O for awesome and outstanding. (Alphabet book. 3-8)