Alice and Aldo

Allison Lester, Author, Alison Lester, Author
Allison Lester, Author, Alison Lester, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $15 (16p) ISBN 978-0-395-87092-1
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Lester's (Imagine; Yikes!) winsome art is the cornerstone of this alphabet cum story book, an Australian import. Readers follow Alice and her stuffed horse Aldo from the time they ""awake"" to ""breakfast in bed,"" until they ""visit the vegetables"" and--as bedtime approaches--""yawn in their yogurt"" and ""sleep all night long"" (the Zzzzzz emanates from a slumbering Alice). Though a few of Lester's alliterative phrases are forced, her cheerful, warmly colored illustrations do not disappoint. Each picture of Alice's and Aldo's activities is framed with smaller vignettes of other objects that begin with the showcased letter. A welcome splash of silliness occasionally surfaces among these spot illustrations: a wide-eyed poodle is comically coiffed and a smile appears in an unlikely spot--on an undershirt. Children may also get their first exposure to Down Under with words like ""echidna,"" ""kookaburra,"" ""wallaby"" and ""wombat."" Curiously, Lester omits the border for ""Q""; Alice feeds quacking ducks but there is no sign of a quail, queen, quilt, etc. to complete the picture. A quibble, perhaps, but an omission bound to be spotted by alert beginning readers, who are the prime audience for this inviting book. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)
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