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Search and Count from Alien to Zebra

by John Nickle & illustrated by John Nickle

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 12th, 2006
ISBN: 0-375-83598-9
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Nickle’s abecedarian offering invigorates the genre with fresh imagery and media. A double spread on “How to Play” provides details on what—and what not to—count on the ensuing pages. Each of the 26 alphabet pages is captioned with the potential number of words and images to find: 24 H’s, 16 J’s, and so on. (Clever kids spying more than what’s listed in the answer key can inform Nickle, “Chief Alphabet Expert,” via a provided e-mail address.) Each page offers an ersatz, irrational landscape, wherein the myriad flora, fauna and stuff, linked purely alliteratively, interact surreally. A hippo Hula Hoops on hind legs near a hill, hovering above a hopscotch board, whereon a haloed hyena hops toward a hot dog and hurrying Humpty Dumpty. Get the picture? Acrylics and spray paint contrast hyper-rendered images (an alligator in an atomic apron; 12 slices of toast) with fuzzy, graffitied shapes and edges. Reproduction quality appears excellent, and smart design, from brilliantly color-blocked endpapers to handsome typography, rounds out a package sure to intrigue primary grade puzzlers. (Nonfiction. 5-8)