AA Is for Aardvark

Mark Shulman, Author, Tamara Petrosino, Illustrator , illus. by Tamara Petrosino. Sterling $14.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4027-2871-6

Though the tag line splashed across the jacket ("Double the Letters! Double the Fun!) smacks somewhat tritely of a chewing gum jingo, there are indeed laughs to be had in these silly, often inventive pages showcasing words with repeated letters. For each alphabetical offering, Petrosino (Rocky the Cat Who Barks ) conjures spirited, vibrantly colored if occasionally garish cartoon scenarios starring animal characters. The pictures' particulars and the critters' comments reinforce the double-letter notion: on a page declaring "MM is for yummy," a young monkey standing in front of a truck selling "Sammy's Sweets," exclaims, "Mm! Yummy in my tummy!" while another screams, "Gimme !" A few of the entries are a bit bland (for the text "OO is for toodle-oo!," depictions of a ghost, cow and owl, respectively utter "Boo !," "Moo !" and "Whoo !"). In some cases, author and artist stretch the concept—and do so wryly: "JJ is for 2 jacks," is illustrated by a jack playing card featuring two royal jack rabbits, one of whom comments, "Just joking"; and a follow-up ("QQ is for 2 queens") reveals a queen playing card on which one of two crowned canards quips "Quack Quack!!"—a sly aside reads, "(Hey, it worked for the jacks!)" It's altogether fuNNy, gOOd-natured and agrEEable. Ages 5-7. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 11/14/2005
Release date: 11/01/2005
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