cover image Ridiculous Rhymes from A to Z

Ridiculous Rhymes from A to Z

John Walker. Henry Holt & Company, $16.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-1581-2

The rhymes and illustrations for each letter in this energetic alphabet book are as bodacious and full of verve as Bugs Bunny reciting Ogden Nash. Each double-page spread is divided into black-bordered sections, eight per letter, allowing both text and art to focus on a series of alliterative scenarios. In the ``W'' section, for example, a winking walrus flies a watermelon plane as Wesley in a watchtower wonders why; on the ``S'' page, ``Sally's on a spotted sofa,/ and sitting right beside her,/ [are] a squid, a snake, a skunk,/ a snail, a scarecrow, and a spider.'' It's hard to say which is more ridiculous, the first-time author's rhymes or Catrow's (see She's Wearing a Dead Bird on Her Head!, reviewed above) wacky watercolor illustrations. The jaunty, rhythmic verses, filled with wordplay, and the stream-of-consciousness tone propel one non-sequitur after another. Catrow rises to the occasion with waggish vignettes, somewhat reminiscent of Victoria Chess (or perhaps a mellow Henrik Drescher). His elongated figures and funhouse perspectives capture the outlandish fun of Walker's verses. An alphabet book to be read again and again. Ages 3-8. (Nov.)