This unusual alphabet adventure features the little letter i.
“When Little i’s dot fell off, // [it] rolled down a hill, / tumbled over a cliff, / and splashed into the sea.” The rest of the alphabet is puzzled, as without a dot, Little i looks just like a number (which is not specified, but readers who know their numerals will likely think it is a 1). So it sets out to find the missing dot. Fetching up on an island, Little i explores a dark tunnel studded with asterisks, finds a garden of comma-shaped sprouts, encounters a waterfall of exclamation points, and finally finds its dot at “the end of the winding seaside passage.” But now it feels strange to have its dot back on, so Little i decides to leave it behind. When Little i returns to the alphabet without it, the other letters wonder what Little i has become. Why, Big I, of course, and all the letters cheer. The digitally combined collages of painted and cut paper form attractive, bold shapes. Little i is orange with a red dot, and all the letters have eyes, giving them personality. Hall’s playfulness with shapes and colors is more challenging here than in his previous books, and the story takes on a slightly allegorical shape with Little i’s excursion across punctuation. The back endpapers trace i’s journey and interpret it, but whether kids will be confused or charmed by it depends on their level of sophistication.
An inventive alphabet book for the perceptive reader. (Picture book. 4-7)