This alphabet of the animal kingdom has a Victorian-scrapbook feel.
Among the flurry of themed alphabet books, traditional straightforward ABC offerings tend to be overlooked or shuffled off to the side. This one deserves a second look due to the clean composition, decorative letters (both upper- and lowercase) and clear images of the animals featured for each letter. C is for cheetah, camel, chameleon, caterpillar and crab. M is for macaw, mantis and monkeys. A few selections may be unfamiliar to young readers. Q is for quetzal, quail and quelea (another type of bird); U is for umbrella bird and uakari (a monkey); X is for X-ray fish, and Y is for yak. Z has three creatures: zebra, zorilla (a skunklike creature) and zander (a fish). The full-color illustrations are laid out on spacious sepia backgrounds with page borders that complement the ornate lettering. It is too bad that there is no legend or identification except for the one word naming the animal. Neither child nor parent is apt to know what a uakari is, beyond the obvious fact that it is a shaggy-furred, bald-faced monkey. A companion title, Animal 123, applies the same design principles to a counting-book that counts up from 1 caterpillar to 20 frogs, then by tens to 100 fish.
If older volumes of simple alphabet books have seen better days, this one will fill the bill for a replacement. (Picture book. 4-6)