cover image The Absolutely Awful Alphabet

The Absolutely Awful Alphabet

Mordicai Gerstein. Harcourt Children's Books, $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-201494-0

With each letter more hideous and mean than the last, this alphabet will supply kids with an abundance of insults. Gerstein (Stop Those Pants!) fashions each letter as an imaginary creature, from the scaly ""awfully arrogant Amphibian"" A to the striped, grinning ""zigzagging zoological Zany"" Z. He also links the letters; the ""hideously Horrible"" H hates ""impossible Ignoramus"" I, who is irritated by J, and so on. Gerstein panders to the baser impulses with gleeful good cheer: his vegetable vampire, an ear of corn with pointy teeth, is especially silly. The bright oil portraits of the vile characters may well fire young imaginations. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)