ACHOO! BANG! CRASH! The Noisy Alphabet

Ross MacDonald, Illustrator ACHOO! BANG! CRASH! The Noisy Alphabet

In a delirious explosion of vintage typefaces and sharp retro design, MacDonald (Another Perfect Day) goes from "A-choo!" to "Zip! Zap! Zing! Zoom." Every pictured situation has a slapstick bent and the onomatopoeia recalls classic biff-bang-pow comic-book fights. For the letter "F," a man steps on a rake ("Fa-dwap! Fwip!"), and for "L," a Valkyrie sings an operatic, sunset-orange "Lah!" (which fills an entire page) as she "leap[s]" from the stage. Given all the noise, some cartoon violence occurs, but it is mild(a young Robin Hood, for instance, shoots a suction-cup-tipped arrow at an enormous red-breasted bird: "Twang! Thwak! Tweet!"). Although each single-page image stands still, MacDonald's deft placement of word-sounds and motion lines suggests antic movement. By examining the positions of a grinning green dragon, a pudgy dappled steed and a fallen knight ("Klip! Klop! Klang! Klank!… Ka-pow!"), readers can imagine how the horse galloped up the dragon's spiny back, skidded to a halt and threw its rider. MacDonald salutes 1930s and '40s comic strips with men in suits, devilish toddlers in cutesy ruffles, doe-eyed animals and oily, saturated hues of yellow, red-orange and blue. He block-prints the oversize, playful words with 19th-century wood type, which, according to an informative afterword, was "used to print early American circus posters, newspaper headlines, theater playbills, and 'wanted' posters." MacDonald blends antique design traditions, an offhand history lesson and a pleasingly silly sense of humor in this idiosyncratic alphabet book. Hip hip hooray! Ages 3-6. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 08/11/2003
Release date: 00/00/0000
Genre: Children's
Library Binding - 32 pages - 978-0-7613-2900-8
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