Kirkus Reviews QR Code


A Hidden Pictures ABC Book

by Nina Rycroft & Stephen Harris & illustrated by Nina Rycroft

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: April 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8109-8842-2
Publisher: Abrams

An alphabetic array of animals dressed in spiffy, sparkly human attire gathers every year in the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool for a dancing competition: affluent alpacas, bears in bright boleros, camels who conga, all the way to wolves and wolverines who do the Watusi and beyond. A few creatures are unexpected: N is for numbats, U is for ugwumps (“We have just invented these”) and X is for oxen who foxtrot. The bordered watercolor-and-gouache illustrations flounce and swirl, busily filling the pages in a style reminiscent of Graeme Base but with less crisp definition. Written in verse, often alliterative, the conceit works, but the “I Spy” facet does not. At the end, the judges declare everyone winners, but the band can’t play the grand finale because the monkeys have hidden all 26 instruments. The hidden objects are quite difficult to find, and frustrated readers may end up resorting to the upside-down key in the back and flipping to the endpapers, where all 26 are clearly depicted. At least two will be unfamiliar to kids: a guiro and a contrabassoon. (Picture book. 6-8)