A debut, sepia-toned alphabet book from steampunk street artist The Impossible Winterbourne, designed to please both adults and young readers.
This book takes a surreal tone from the start, as the author welcomes readers to Winterbourne Workshop—which is also the name of his real-world art shop. An alphabet follows, featuring strange and frequently wonderful robots. On each two-page spread, a letter, printed in an old-fashioned typewriter typeface, is framed and placed against a muted, tapestrylike background. Below it is a description of a robot whose name begins with the same letter, illustrated in mixed-media on the facing page. Some of the best examples include the AquaBot, an underwater automaton who wears an old-fashioned diving helmet; the EcoBot, who’s made from sticks and has a tree growing from its head; and the IdeaBot, whose head is an old-fashioned lightbulb. Each one’s design has a steampunk flair, but some are eerier than others and might be off-putting to sensitive young readers; the GhostBot, for example, has rusted chains and a sad expression, and the ZombiBot is suitably grotesque with frayed wires and an exposed brain. The poetry scans well throughout, and the rhymes create a nice read-aloud cadence. VoodooBot, however, is an unfortunate misstep that reinforces negative stereotypes of that religion. For the most part, though, this is an inventive book that’s similar in tone and content to Neil Gaiman’s The Dangerous Alphabet or Edward Gorey’s The Gashlycrumb Tinies.
An imaginative work featuring intriguingly weird art that lives up the creator’s desire for “wonder and whimsy.”