Once Upon an Alphabet: Short Stories for All the Letters

Oliver Jeffers. Philomel, $26.99 (112p) ISBN 978-0-399-16791-1
With wry humor, equally droll ink illustrations, and a solid dose of alliteration, Jeffers (the Hueys series) creates delightful mini-narratives for each letter of the alphabet. In the B story, "Burning a Bridge," the antagonistic relationship between neighbors Bernard and Bob reaches a breaking point: "But Bob learned an important lesson that day" after he burns down the bridge separating their homes—and traps himself on Bernard's side. In addition to the rampant alliteration in the stories and poems ("Mary is made of matter./ So is her mother./ And her mother's moose"), Jeffers's illustrations are full of unnamed people and objects that correspond to each letter, providing opportunities for interactive reading. Grim touches appear here and there—because half of Helen's house fell into the sea, getting up on the wrong side of the bed proves disastrous—but the overall mood is one of playful mischief. One thing is certain: if Jeffers's determined problem-solving duo, Owl and Octopus—who pop up throughout, rescuing drowning cucumbers and recovering stolen x-ray glasses—don't get to headline future books of their own, it'll be downright criminal. Ages 3–5. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/20/2014
Release date: 10/01/2014
Genre: Children's
Board Books - 26 pages - 978-0-399-54542-9
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-0-00-751427-4
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