THE DISAPPEARING ALPHABET by Richard Wilbur

THE DISAPPEARING ALPHABET

by & illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 10
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KIRKUS REVIEW

The joining of the talents of the incandescent Diaz and the wry, venerable Wilbur has produced an enchanting picture book. “If the alphabet began to disappear,/Some words would soon look raggedy and queer” is the premise, and so Wilbur muses, one short verse for every letter, on what might happen if it faded away. The possibilities are droll, and his thoughts puckish, e.g., if the letter B, “were absent, say, from BAT and BALL,/There’d be not big or little leagues AT ALL,” and “At breakfast time, the useful letter T/Preserves us all from eating SHREDDED WHEA.” Diaz’s computer-generated illustrations are a glorious foil for the poems; in glowing stained-glass hues and candy colors, he makes silhouettes and cut-outs, curlicues and patterns reminiscent of everything from ColorForms to Mexican papercuts. The figures are imagined strongly and with humor; for W, a werewolf and watermelon share the stage, while a Roman legionnaire appears with Wilbur’s mince pie and marshmallows for the letter (and Roman numeral) M. It’s a sly—and beautiful—upending of the world of letters. (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-15-201470-5
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1998




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