ANIMOLOGY by Maree Coote


The Big Book of Letter Art Alphabeasts
by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 6 - 9
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A large-format letter-art menagerie from the Australian creator of Spellbound: Making Pictures With the A-B-C (2016).

Coote freely mixes typefaces, sizes, weights, and orientations but uses only the letters in the names of her animals (often repeatedly) to create 36 portraits—each on its own spread and rendered in a different, vivid color scheme. Presented in no discernible order, the animals, ranging from frog to koala, with elk, crab, and Afghan hound, among others, in between, are all composed of elaborate swirls and cascades, from which viewers are invited to pick out the letters with help from typographically consonant captions. While the pictures alone are an eyeful, the rhymed quatrains that accompany each add not only further letter-related prompts, but fresh washes of wit: “The hues of a chameleon / Depend on what she’s kneeling on.” (The emu’s reference to being on a “coat-of-arms” may confuse readers on this end of the Pacific, but a closing page of typographical and natural-history notes, in very tiny type, includes an explanation.) Budding letter detectives who’ve honed their skills on similarly themed outings such as Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich’s magisterial Bembo’s Zoo (2000) or Michael Arndt’s clever Cat Says Meow (2014) will still find their work cut out for them here.

A fresh tribute to the creative possibilities of letter-form art: stylish and sophisticated. (Picture book/poetry. 6-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2020
ISBN: 978-0-9924917-9-6
Page count: 72pp
Publisher: Melbournestyle Books/Trafalgar
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2020