cover image The A to Z Beastly Jamboree

The A to Z Beastly Jamboree

Robert Bender. Dutton Books, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-525-67520-4

The letters of the alphabet find themselves at the mercy of an assortment of animals as Bender (A Little Witch Magic) applies his signature paint-on-acetate techniques to the ABCs. H is ""haunted"" by two bellowing hippopotamuses, a couple of mice ""mail"" the letter M, and W is ""wrestled"" by walruses. The formula doesn't vary: each letter is teamed up with a corresponding animal and an action verb, thus ""Unicorns undress Uu."" A buoyant picture illustrates each phrase, the letter in question painted brightly at the center of the action. A border of alphabet animals snakes around each piece of artwork. The chain runs in alphabetical order, too; for example, the border around ""Dodos decorate Dd"" runs ant, bat, cow, dodo; the remainder of the chain is composed of nose-to-tail dodos. This format repeats on each page until all 26 animals complete the chain. As usual, Bender's art combines a gentle fuzziness with luminosity. His colors glow, the muted grays and browns almost as much as the electric greens and violets. It's a suitably unearthly setting for these offbeat beasties. Ages 2-6. (June)