ALPHABET ART: Thirteen ABCs from around the World by Leonard Everett Fisher

ALPHABET ART: Thirteen ABCs from around the World

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Whatever may be gained here by introducing children to ""the look of different alphabets of some non-English-speaking people in use around the modern world"" is offset by the page of ostensible information that accompanies each set of letters (or signs). In the Arabic alphabet, we're told, ""there is a flow of purpose and continuity that reflects the reach of an ancient but still vigorous Semitic people who are descended from the dim Biblical past. . . ,"" while the German ""Gothic"" alphabet is said to symbolize ""man's parallel natures, his ignorance and enlightenment, so sharply delineated during the Gothic period""--claptrap in both cases. The ""Five Civilized Tribes"" of the American Southeast--discussed apropos of the Cherokee syllabary--allegedly ""knew about civilization [because] their chiefs had been to London, met with royalty, and walked the city's streets""; and on Southerners, ""chiefly Georgians,"" is put the onus of driving the Cherokee out. In the small area of hard, modern fact, we're led to believe that the Japanese, not the Chinese, are taking steps to Romanize their writing system, whereas the opposite is the case. And even granting the attractiveness, in the abstract, of Fisher's pages of letter forms, one may wonder if it isn't more instructive to see the various alphabets side by side--especially those with common Roman and Phoenician roots--as one can in an encyclopedic entry. Otherwise, it's the encyclopedia by a mile.

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 1979
Publisher: Four Winds