cover image A Was Once an Apple Pie

A Was Once an Apple Pie

Edward Lear. Candlewick Press (MA), $13.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-56402-000-0

``A was once an apple pie, / Pidy / Widy / Tidy / Pidy / Nice insidy / Apple pie.'' So begins Lear's alphabet, a beguiling collection of verses that stretch poetry, language and meaning but wisely opt for silliness instead of outright nonsense. The result is a rhythmic, lilting progression full of simple, childlike images and the sort of fanciful wordplay that children revel in. Lacome's ( Funny Business ; Hocus Pocus ) bright, bold illustrations are a happy match, containing hints of whimsy that complement without overpowering the playfulness of the rhymes. They have a clean, crisp, yet varied design and a quietly folksy feel. Ages 2-up. (Mar.)