cover image A, My Name is Alex

A, My Name is Alex

Alice Lyne. Charlesbridge Publishing, $5.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-879085-41-1

Based on the familiar jump-rope rhyme, this slight book skips through the alphabet and around the world. Cravath's (Three, Two, One Day) freewheeling, bustling watercolor art, animated with calligraphic and cartoonlike lines, incorporates objects that also begin with the featured letter: thus, Ian and Ida--""We live in Indonesia,/ And we sell iguanas""--are shown boating between an igloo and an iris, with islands in the distance; the iguanas grasp ice cream cones. Children are not likely to glean much about Indonesia--or Quebec, Sicily or Uruguay--with this wholly alphabet-based approach, but the resulting incongruity can be amusing. A key in back lists the alliterative items. Debut author Lyne's stanzas also often combine letters, which in the schoolyard would be considered cheating (Frankie lives in... Guatemala?). Unfortunately, the alliterative word combinations are not any more clever than those a child could improvise on the spot, and it's a lot more fun to make them up than it is to read them. Ages 3-7. (Mar.)