This is a camp crisis and “an alphabet mystery,” but it’s not a typical alphabet book.
When B jumps over a mixing bowl, C knows he can jump farther. But after leaping “over three pots and a pan,” he lands “smack in the garbage can” and can’t get out. D sounds the alarm, and anthropomorphic alphabet characters team up to keep C from being “dumped in the garbage truck.” E (who has three arms) could certainly help, but E is missing, so H and I begin a search. M, “a crackerjack sleuth” with a deerstalker hat and magnifying glass, soon discovers “O, P, and R / have disappeared, too.” U, dressed in a superhero cape, soon cracks the case. “O, P, R, and E / are off making a word”—that turns out to be “just the thing we need for C.” In the end, “a ROPE, some friends, and a fabulous plan / all [rescue] C from the garbage can.” Spot-on rhyme and meter create a fast-moving mystery in which the alphabetical sequence becomes the basis of a charming chain of events leading to C’s rescue. Brightly colored and easily recognizable letters, adorned with facial features and a well-chosen accessory or two, stand out against uncluttered backgrounds of humorous scenes and activities. The setting is a bit uncertain, as the kitchen where C performs his stunt looks more like a suburban home’s than a camp’s, suggesting a day camp, but other scenes imply a sleep-away camp.
A nifty caper showcasing teamwork, letter recognition, and word formation. (Picture book. 3-5)