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A TO Z MENAGERIE by Suzy Ultman


by Suzy Ultman ; illustrated by Suzy Ultman

Age Range: 2 - 4

Pub Date: Oct. 8th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-4521-7711-3
Publisher: Chronicle

A picture dictionary with pullout tabs that emphasize each letter.

Ultman’s distinct illustrations lead the way through this alphabet board book. Each page features a different letter-shaped cutout that fills in when readers pull the tab located in the margin. The letter “K” becomes a K-shaped brown “koala,” for example. An introductory page invites readers to “look & touch,” a kind invitation even though the book is self-explanatory. While the tabs feature the usual alphabet suspects—like “X is for xylophone”—the rest of the featured vocabulary is very rich, providing important exposure to new words for a young reader. Examples of these words include “axolotl,” “echidna,” and “xyris” (a type of flower), and the illustrations provide enough context for readers’ understanding. The delicate line drawings feature pastel pinks and greens with bold blues and yellows. There are some adorable touches when the lettered items are doubled up, like the bear wearing a beret, the cat wearing a Peter Pan collar, and the horse wearing high-tops. Most items resemble their familiar form with some outlying quirks, such as a blue squirrel and an armless mermaid. The people featured in the book are shown to be paper white, pastel pink, or warm brown.

More than the tabs, it’s the atypical vocabulary and quirky illustrations that set this one apart from ordinary alphabet books. (Board book. 2-4)