Sassafrass Jones and Her Forever Friends ABCs

Cathleen Smith-Bresciani and Rebekah Kaufman, photos by Tomas Espinoza. Luxury Kitten, $14.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-578-15002-4
Smith-Bresciani gains a coauthor in Kaufman for this second title built around photographs of vintage Steiff stuffed animals. Sassafrass Jones, the Pekingese who starred in 2013’s Sassafrass Jones & Her Search for a Forever Home, is essentially absent from this book, which instead offers a tour of the alphabet based around other Steiff animals. The animals are described using short, alliterative phrases (“Snails Slithering,” “Tigers in Tiaras”) and identified in English, French, Spanish, German, Chinese, and Japanese. A “Dog with Desserts” wears a checkered red-and-white dress and pushes a cart of sweets: “Who is this dog serving pies, cakes, and strudel?/ She goes by the name of Snobby the poodle,” reads the accompanying rhyme. Facts about the Steiff toys and their production are also included for each figure, which include “Paddy,” a wig-wearing walrus, and a pair of “Crabby” lobsters, who are pictured “lunching” on some of their fellow crustaceans. While the details mined from Steiff history will probably interest adult collectors most, the playful photographic compositions and language-learning elements should hold young readers’ attention. Ages 4–8. (BookLife)
Reviewed on: 02/01/2016
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