All Aboard! A Traveling Alphabet

Bill Mayer, Author, Chris L. Demarest, Concept by . S&S/McElderry $17.99 (0p) ISBN 978-0-689-85249-7

Mayer (A Walk in the Rain with a Brain ) creates a ’20s-style travel poster for each letter in this elegant abecedary. Working in grainy airbrush gouache to mimic the steely blue, velvety gold and crimson of classic lithography, he creates a 26-piece design showcase while reproducing certain static, monumental elements of art deco. Mayer’s cover image and letter-A page, “All Aboard!,” pictures a docked steamship. Upon closer inspection, readers see that the ship’s hull, a diagonal gangplank and a supporting beam discreetly form a slant-sided A. “Landing” pictures silvery prop planes cruising on a floodlit runway that forms a wide L; “Tour” pictures the T-shaped red handlebars of a stylized black bicycle. The final page provides thumbnail versions of all the images, with broad white strokes that emphasize the letterforms within each composition. Some are obvious, like a railroad “X-ing.” Others require scrutiny, like the I (“Island”) formed by a beachgoer’s skinny legs. Mayer successfully evokes the glamour of the Roaring Twenties, although his travel ABCs never quite get under way. The designs are consistent and uniform, but so self-contained they do not generate momentum; that said, individual images will attract their share of admirers. Ages 3-7. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 01/07/2008
Release date: 02/01/2008
Genre: Children's
Board Books - 16 pages - 978-0-15-201413-1
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