cover image Autumn: An Alphabet Acrostic

Autumn: An Alphabet Acrostic

Steven Schnur. Clarion Books, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-77043-6

ACORN, BARN and CORN begin these 26 alphabetically arranged acrostic verses. Schnur's (The Shadow Children) text is at its best when it is simplest, and each line of the acrostic helps a child understand how the word contributes to the season, as with JAM (""Jars of freshly made/ Applesauce, jelly, and/ Marmalade sit gleaming on the kitchen shelf"") or SNOW (""Stillness/ Now/ Over all the cold/ White world""). Other verses are quite abstract for this age group, such as ""Up beyond the/ Night sky, an/ Indigo darkness like/ Velvet/ Embraces the farthest/ Reaches of the mind,/ Sun, moon, stars, /Everything,"" and some are not unique to autumn. It's Evans's (illustrator of Jerry Pallotta's The Flower Alphabet Book) linoleum-block prints that are the real draw here. Her clean black lines and bold, hand-colored washes evoke Ashley Wolff's style and palette. Ranging from the cozy cupboard view of bottled preserves in JAM to the aerial view of the town green in TRAIN, the illustrations integrate the elements of each acrostic. Ages 3-8. (Aug.)