ONCE UPON AN ALPHABET by Oliver Jeffers
Kirkus Star

ONCE UPON AN ALPHABET

by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 8
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KIRKUS REVIEW

This amazing “menagerie” presents an original story for all 26 letters of the alphabet.

Opening with A, “An Astronaut” tells of astronaut-in-training Edmund, hampered by his fear of heights. “Cup in the Cupboard” for letter C relates the sad story of Cup, whose move from cupboard to windowsill ends disastrously. In “Danger Delilah,” letter D introduces a fearless superheroine, while L’s tale, “The Lumberjack’s Light,” stars Jack, struck by lightning so often he doesn’t need a plug for his light. “An Enigma” for letter E asks “[h]ow many elephants can you fit inside an envelope,” referring readers to letter N and “Nearly Nine Thousand” for the answer. In letter J’s, “Jelly Door,” Jemima makes her front door out of jelly to make retrieving forgotten keys easy, while in letter K’s, “The King,” a king forgets his keys. The 26 amusing ministories come full circle with letter Z’s, “Zeppelin,” in which astronaut Edmund returns aboard a zeppelin. The silly, spare, slightly surreal text occasionally rhymes and endlessly surprises. Jeffers introduces each letter and story title on a separate, colored page, featuring the letter in childlike lettering. Deceptively naïve pen, ink and watercolor illustrations in subdued blacks and grays on white backgrounds add to the overall whimsy. Reappearing visual elements provide intertextual humor.

An utterly delightful alphabet book. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 14th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-399-16791-1
Page count: 112pp
Publisher: Philomel
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2014




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