Kipper's A to Z

Mick Inkpen, Author
Mick Inkpen, Author Red Wagon Books $18 (64p) ISBN 978-0-15-202594-6
Reviewed on: 03/01/2001
Release date: 03/01/2001
Hardcover - 64 pages - 978-1-84032-559-1
Prebound-Sewn - 54 pages - 978-0-7569-6557-0
Hardcover - 55 pages - 978-0-340-78483-9
Paperback - 64 pages - 978-0-15-205441-0
Prebound-Other - 978-0-606-34638-2
Hardcover - 978-1-84032-561-4
Hardcover - 64 pages - 978-0-340-78484-6
Hardcover - 55 pages - 978-1-4449-1814-4
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Creepy crawly critters and recurring jokes feature in this sprightly ABC tale. In a teaser, ahead of the title page, the eponymous pooch tells a zebra, ""We won't need you till much, much later."" Inkpen thus signals his plans to eschew a formulaic abecedarian approach and introduces the letters in inventive ways, giving his volume a rollicking spontaneity and a story line. In some cases, the author subtly slips the spotlighted letter into the narrative, which follows Kipper and his pig pal, Arnold, as they encounter bugs, animals and other objects, most of which Arnold places in a box (e.g., ""He opened his box and put the interesting insect inside""). Other whimsical touches include the reemergence of creatures introduced on previous pages; inventive use of type (as on the spread introducing h, when the text forms an arc shaped around a hill); the intermittent appearance of the earnest zebra, who wants to know if it's his turn yet (to which Kipper replies, ""No, not now!... You don't begin with N""); and one quite waggish omission: ""Kipper couldn't think of anything beginning with K. Can you think of anything?"" Yet likely the strongest selling point here is Inkpen's signature charming, childlike art, which offers endearing images of these expressive young animal characters at every turn. Adorable, breezy, clever, this is the alphabet book of choice. Ages 3-7. (Mar.)
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