The Alphabet Soup

Mirko Gabler, Author
Mirko Gabler, Author Henry Holt & Company $14.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8050-2049-6
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Gabler's inventive and thoroughly puckish debut is grade-A gross-out material. Not only does it teach the ABCs--it makes even lima beans, liver and spinach begin to sound tasty. Green and gruesome twosome Gurgla and Blog, twin children of a witch, go to school like regular kids, but they have a unique approach to homework. Assigned to make alphabet soup, they tell mom to ``get the cauldronsic ready'' and begin adding nasty abecedarian ingredients: dusty dirty dandruff, flat fried frog, mighty moldy mushrooms, etc. Soon classic fairy-tale menace crops up--Will Gurgla and Blog really mix their classmate Zack into the brew simply because his name begins with Z? Gabler's illustrations, with their cartoony style and suitably Halloweenish hues (muddy browns, grays, greens and orange predominate) provide abundant kid appeal. (The book's frenetic, crowded pages, however, will no doubt limit its usefulness as a beginning alphabet book.) Although this all-in-fun narrative seems ideal for the Addams Family bookshelf, some may find it an acquired taste. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)
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