cover image Take Away the A

Take Away the A

Michaël Escoffier, illus. by Kris Di Giacomo. Enchanted Lion (Consortium, dist.), $17.95 (56p) ISBN 978-1-59270-156-8

Just when it feels like there's nothing new under the abecedarian sun, Escoffier and Di Giacomo, the team behind Brief Thief and other titles, showcase the magic of subtraction as it relates to letters, revealing how removing a single letter from a word transforms it into something else entirely. "Without the A, the beast is the best," Escoffier begins, as Di Giacomo pictures a gray, fanged monster hoisting a trophy into the air while wearing a sash that pronounces him "scariest & hairiest." (The competition wasn't exactly stiff: a nonthreatening duck and a forlorn fish occupy the second- and third-place spots on the podium.) The scenarios that follow can be romantic (after losing a G, "the glove falls in love"%E2%80%94with a blushing octopus), whimsical, or downright unsettling. "Without the P, the plate is too late" accompanies a scene that show mice frantically trying to deliver dinner to a cat, which has a mouse's tail dangling from its mouth. Beyond the inherent fun of the concept (which has plenty of potential for classroom activities), every scene tells a story%E2%80%94it's practically 26 books in one. Ages 4%E2%80%938. (Sept.)