Anemone, blackberry, crab, Douglas fir, eagle…this elegant alphabet book mirrors the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest.
Except for the double-page spreads “A for anemone” and “Z for zephyr,” each Northwest entity is allotted one gift-card–perfect page, showing the capital and lowercase versions of each letter. The artwork resembles woodcuts, but Viano carves away black paper to shape her images. A soothing palette—creams, robin’s-egg blue, pale greens, warm rose—sets a reflective mood in keeping with the quiet, still illustrations of close-up objects and landscapes alike. The text—sometimes factual, sometimes more whimsical—is best for reading aloud to wee ones, as the sentence structure can be somewhat convoluted: “Tucked away when exposed at low tide, the tentacles of a sea ANEMONE reach out when the water returns.” Much of the pictured flora and fauna, such as gull, lichen, nettle, pine cone, queen bee, etc. can be found elsewhere around the world. The author embraces her Northwest-resident status, using inclusive language like “[o]ur beloved ISLANDS” and extending her conversational tone with friendly admonitions such as “Blame the squirrel for the falling PINECONE that hits you on the head while you rest against a tree.”
Urchins and volcanoes and whales, oh my! This eye-catching alphabet book affectionately showcases the Northwest’s bountiful beauty. (Picture book. 4-8)