This book of “short stories for all the letters” is another remarkably creative and unconventional flight of imagination by the talented Oliver Jeffers (illustrator of The Day The Crayons Quit).
For each letter, Jeffers tells a little story, accompanied by adorable pictures. Some of the stories are even connected to one another – for example, to find out the answer to a dilemma posed at “E” you need to refer to “N,” and the cup that breaks in “C” reappears in “O” and “T”.
Some stories feature alliteration, like M:
“Mary is made of matter.
So is her mother.
And her mother’s moose.
In fact, matter makes up everything
from magnets and maps to
mountains and mattresses.”
All of them are humorous in a very quirky way, for example, W:
“The ingenious inventor [we learned about him at the letter “I”] had
a favorite invention of all –
It had the head of a whisk
and the body of a giraffe.
They became great friends over
the years and enjoyed strawberries
and whipped cream.”
“P” and “R” and “S” are especially hilarious (and “S” is also connected to “O”). Some of them have dark beginnings but happy endings. To me they show a respect for the complexity and perceptiveness of young minds not often acknowledged by authors for books for this age group.
Evaluation: The witty wordplay and whimsical pictures will delight readers of all ages. For ages 5 through adult.
Published by Philomel Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group, a member of the Penguin Group (USA), 2014