Amazon Alphabet

Tanis Jordan, Author, Martin Jordan, Author, Martin Jordan, Illustrator Larousse Kingfisher Chambers $17.95 (48p) ISBN 978-1-85697-666-4
This arresting alphabet book gives the impression of a contemporary one-man show: Martin Jordan's (Jungle Days, Jungle Nights) resplendent oil paintings ""hang"" against a white background, accompanied by minimal text. Next to many of the large-scale works, enlarged details spotlight specific attributes of the featured animals, adding drama and directing the reader's focus. The alphabet offers a convenient structure to link a broad mix of wild Amazon animals. A comfortable melange includes the ordinary (butterfly, dolphin, eagle, frog) and the peculiar (kinkajou, yapok, white-collared peccary). Both the text and illustrations catch the animals in characteristic behaviors (""Sloth grooming its coat,"" ""Jaguar preparing to prowl"") and habitats (""Caiman drowsing in the sun,"" ""Zorro hidden in the tree""). Colorful endnotes will help parents and teachers rev up interest: in captivity, the red ouakari's signature bright-red face fades; ""Sloths move so slowly that a plant called algae grows in their fur and camouflages them in the trees."" Even for the alphabet-weary, this show is worth the price. Ages 3-5. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/2000
Release date: 04/01/2000
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