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A IS FOR SALAD by Mike Lester


by Mike Lester & illustrated by Mike Lester

Age Range: 5 - 7

Pub Date: April 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-399-23388-1
Publisher: Putnam

Lester debuts with a promisingly irreverent alphabet, inviting a closer look at the pictures by giving them misleading captions: “A” does indeed feature a salad—but an Alligator is eating it. Similarly, “B is for Viking” accompanies a Beaver in a horned helmet, “C” is for a hot dog held by a tubby tiger Cat, and so forth to “Z,” which, being for “The End,” is exemplified by a Zebra presenting its tush to the viewer. The animals in Lester's stylized menagerie pose in a variety of comically exaggerated expressions, from grumpy to panic-stricken, and the patterned text varies just enough to stave off monotony. Less a reading-skills lesson than a playful exercise in cognitive dissonance, this makes a perfect gateway to Scieszka/Lane territory, or Nicholas Heller's Goblins in Green (1995) and other residents of the picture-book universe's daffier reaches. (Picture book. 5-7)