The Letters Are Lost: A Picture Book about the Alphabet

Lisa Campbell Ernst, Author Viking Children's Books $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-670-86336-5
Alphabet blocks and other toy-chest habitues star in this pleasingly designed ABC primer, which opens with the wooden cubes carefully arranged in a wagon. ""But time passed. First one block disappeared, then the next.... The letters are lost! Come, let's find them, one by one."" A roundup of the missing toys reveals that ""A flew high in an Airplane. / B tumbled into the Bath. / C joined a family of Cows,"" and so on. Alert readers will notice other letter-related objects in each illustration; for instance, when ""M admired himself in a Mirror,"" a Moon is visible on the woodblock's reverse side, and a Mouse peers into the glass as well. Ernst (Little Red Riding Hood: A Newfangled Prairie Tale) frames each scene in a square, and every alphabet block serves both as a pictograph and as an active participant in the illustration. The artist softens the rectangles' hard edges by outlining them unevenly in black ink and filling each shape with muted, warm watercolor hues. Inviting and stimulating. Ages 2-6. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
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