cover image John Burninghams ABC

John Burninghams ABC

John Burningham. Random House Value Publishing, $1.99 (28pp) ISBN 978-0-517-55960-4

British author-illustrator Burningham has created many popular picture books for young children. In these four It's Great to Learn volumes, his characteristically winsome children demonstrate basic concepts. In 123, for instance, the sturdy branches of a large tree fill up with 10 children. The pleasing drawings, delicately shaded in pastel colors, will appeal to small children. But the books may be less effective in teaching the concepts they illustrate. The books' target audience may find the books somewhat bland and less challenging than others of their kind. Whereas Dr. Seuss's ABC and Sandra Boynton's A is for Angry, for example, use subtle humor to engage the reader's attention, Burningham's ABC simply offers yet another Alligator, Bear, etc., down through Xylophone, Yak and Zebra. Primarily valuable for their sweet illustrations, then, these books might have been better suited to a board book format. (3-6)