"If words make up the stories and letters make up the words, then stories are made up of letters. Read more...
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"If words make up the stories and letters make up the words, then stories are made up of letters. In this menagerie we have stories made of words, made FOR all the letters."
The most inventive and irresistible book of the year spans a mere 26 letters (don't they all ) and 112 pages. From an Astronaut who's afraid of heights, to a Bridge that ends up burned between friends, to a Cup stuck in a cupboard and longing for freedom, "Once Upon an Alphabet" is a creative tour de force from A through Z. Slyly funny in a way kids can't resist, and gorgeously illustrated in a way readers of all ages will pour over, this series of interconnected stories and characters explores the alphabet in a way that will forever raise the bar.
In "Once Upon an Alphabet," #1 "New York Times "bestseller Oliver Jeffers has created a stunning collection of words and artwork that is a story book, alphabet book, and gorgeously designed art book all in one.
Praise for ONCE UPON AN ALPHABET:
An Amazon""Best Book of 2014
A "Publishers Weekly"Best Book of the Year
A"School Library Journal"Best Book of the Year
A" New York Times" Bestseller
* "The silly, spare, slightly surreal text occasionally rhymes and endlessly surprises.An utterly delightful alphabet book." "Kirkus Review," starred review
* "With wry humor, equally droll ink illustrations, and a solid dose of alliteration, Jeffers creates delightful mini-narratives for each letter of the alphabet." "Publishers Weekly," starred review
*"An altogether stimulating, surprising, and satisfying reading experience." "School Library Journal," starred review
* "Whimsical, funny, occasionally tragic, and highly entertaining, this collection of (sometimes) interlocking tales is brilliantly inventive." "Horn Book," starred review
"Jeffers knows how to catch the attention of his young audience while challenging their imagination, intellect and vocabulary. This whimsical exploration of letters and language begs to be read over and over again." "BookPage"
"Handsome, humorous and clad in bright tomato-red, this]is the sort of book you may want to rush into the arms of imaginative, good-natured children between 4 and 10 years old. T]his is no traditional abecedarian exercise.The stories are wonderfully varied, sometimes philosophical and often end surprisingly; the drawings are just as quirky and unpredictable." "The Wall Street Journal"
" W]itty from A to Z . . . no one would blame you for having a copy even if there are no kids in the house.Think of it as Edward Goreyfor the preschool set and their hip parents." "The Washington Post""
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-10-20
- Reviewer: Staff
With wry humor, equally droll ink illustrations, and a solid dose of alliteration, Jeffers (the Hueys series) creates delightful mini-narratives for each letter of the alphabet. In the B story, "Burning a Bridge," the antagonistic relationship between neighbors Bernard and Bob reaches a breaking point: "But Bob learned an important lesson that day" after he burns down the bridge separating their homes—and traps himself on Bernard's side. In addition to the rampant alliteration in the stories and poems ("Mary is made of matter./ So is her mother./ And her mother's moose"), Jeffers's illustrations are full of unnamed people and objects that correspond to each letter, providing opportunities for interactive reading. Grim touches appear here and there—because half of Helen's house fell into the sea, getting up on the wrong side of the bed proves disastrous—but the overall mood is one of playful mischief. One thing is certain: if Jeffers's determined problem-solving duo, Owl and Octopus—who pop up throughout, rescuing drowning cucumbers and recovering stolen x-ray glasses—don't get to headline future books of their own, it'll be downright criminal. Ages 3–5. (Oct.)
Whimsy from A to Z
It’s one thing to learn your ABCs. It’s quite another when Oliver Jeffers is in charge. His new picture book, Once Upon an Alphabet, contains 26 very short stories, beginning with “An Astronaut” and ending with “Zeppelin.” Preschoolers and beginning readers will delight in these vignettes featuring everything from a lumberjack who repeatedly gets struck by lightning to, of all things, a puzzled parsnip.
Jeffers (The Day the Crayons Quit) uses comical illustrations and sophisticated humor throughout, sometimes linking several stories. “An Enigma” asks how many elephants can fit inside an envelope, and readers must go to “N” for the answer. Kids will eat up Jeffers’ wacky wickedness, such as in “Half a House,” in which poor Helen lives in the remains of a house on the edge of a seaside cliff. (The rest collapsed during a hurricane.) One day, alas, Helen rolls out of the wrong side of the bed.
Jeffers knows how to catch the attention of his young audience while challenging their imagination, intellect and vocabulary. This whimsical exploration of letters and language begs to be read over and over again.