ALPHABET SCHOOL by Stephen Johnson
Kirkus Star


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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The multiple–award-winning illustrator takes a page from his own book—Alphabet City (1995), that is—and creates a graphic-alphabet book that will have students searching their own schools for letters.

In an introductory note, Johnson says his inspiration was a partially eaten peanut-butter–and-jelly sandwich his daughter brought home from school: it formed a perfect letter G (and is the basis for the page featuring that letter). No matter the inspiration, though, the artwork within will surely have readers looking at the world from all different angles and perspectives and appreciating the beauty in the mundane. A shadow on the fender of a yellow school bus forms a B; an ordinary double-paned window is an E when viewed from the side; the handle on a pencil sharpener is an L; two metal bookends next to one another form an M; an upturned toilet seat is a perfect U. Not all of these can be found in every school—Q is the center circle on a basketball court with a painted comet logo bursting through—but there are enough ideas here that kids will leave no stone unturned in looking for their own versions. Johnson’s art consists of monoprints on paper with digital enhancements, and it has an old-fashioned photo feel, complete with grainy texture and whitish borders around every picture.

Not only does Johnson once again take something simple and make it extraordinary, but he will inspire readers to do the same. (Alphabet book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 8th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-4169-2521-7
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2015


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