cover image QUILT ALPHABET


Lesa Cline-Ransome, , illus. by James E. Ransome. . Holiday, $17.95 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-1453-6

The husband-and-wife Ransomes (Satchel Paige) skillfully fashion a blue-ribbon ABC book that combines bright, folksy oil paintings and lilting riddle-poems. Alongside each painting, a rhyming verse describes an object beginning with a particular letter of the alphabet. For example, for the letter "P," the words "One part sugar, two parts spice/ Baked inside each sweet slice/ Seasoned with love, sprinkled with care/ Fresh-baked fragrance fills the air" are paired with a mouthwatering portrait of a lattice-topped pie. Throughout, a colorful quilted square depicting the appropriate alphabet letter appears alongside each verse, and the artist clearly showcases the riddle's answer in his work. A list of answers appears on the final page, too (readers may be surprised by the answer to the "X" riddle). Much of the sunny, country-inspired artwork is as crisp and fresh looking as clean laundry flapping on the clothesline. Several compositions capture the vibrant, pungent oranges, reds and yellows of autumn, including a scene of a glowing family of jack-o'-lanterns and a nighttime parade of trick-or-treaters that memorably illuminate the "J" page. The artist also adds dashes of humor, as when the text for "H" describes "Rodeo rider or out on the plain/ Home again on his own terrain," and the artwork pictures not a bucking stallion but a rocking horse. Ages 2-6. (Sept.)