Explore a quirky collection of creatures and things in this ABC book with a decidedly retro feel.
With an aesthetic reminiscent of 1951’s The Little Golden ABC, French author/illustrator Aracil presents a throwback abecedary infused with modern hipness. A blocky, oversized uppercase letter dominates the verso with a trio of smaller letters beneath: lowercase block, as well as upper- and lowercase cursive, though does the ABC set really need familiarity with cursive? Three small Day-Glo bears inconsistently peek out from most large letters; their emotionless, mouthless faces border on disconcerting. The unexpected continues on the recto: While there’s the familiar “ant” and “alligator” among the assortment of “A” objects, the distinctly unusual choice “ax” also appears. Elsewhere, “Ulysses” (the Greek hero) and “Yeti” (munching a selection of Day-Glo popsicles, naturally) also make appearances. “P” epitomizes this sauciness, with its small boy (back to) and his golden stream. Adult readers who smirk at this tongue-in-cheek humor are likely to love this book; if not, move on. The illustration styles vary wildly, from smooth-edged funky vintage “cars” to a “fox” rendered in wild, brushy style. Animals both anthropomorphized (a “rhino” holding a “racket”) and untamed (a roaring “jaguar”) share a sense of swanky flamboyance, accented by those Day-Glo highlights. The dazzling orange binding and the extra-tall trim will surely lure little eyes.
Those who relish an eclectic vibe will fall for this odd offering. (Board book. 2-4)