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by & illustrated by

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: March 11th, 2003
ISBN: 0-375-82347-6
Publisher: Knopf

A dark-haired lady in a shapeless overcoat keeps the letters of the alphabet caged until they escape into a witty and inventive story. When the Alphabet Keeper cleans the cage that imprisons the letters, out they fly, escaping through the window on the breeze. She chases them, but they elude capture—when she goes after them in a bus, the h flies down and turns the bus into a bush. When she evolves a plan, the t turns her plan into a plant. When the letters “Shout loud!” the c turns loud into a cloud, where they hide. Letters added, subtracted, and reversed contribute to the wordplay that will delight children particularly as they master the trick, for example, of reading “rats” backwards so that it is “star.” In the end, the Alphabet Keeper loses them all, as they change “moo” into “moon” adding “et” to the rock she threw at them, and the rocket carries them to the moon. The illustrations use heavy black line and a few basic colors to create strong, simple, but energetic shapes. Each letter (they are all lower case) has an eye and a mouth, giving them a bit of personality while retaining their essence of letter form. A bright bit of imagination worthy of the old television show The Electric Company. (Picture book. 3-7)