Reviews for Alphabet from A to Y with Bonus Letter Z!


Booklist Reviews 2007 November #2
The flap copy calls this "a smart, laugh-inducing introduction to the alphabet for young children." Smart and funny it may be, but it's certainly not an introduction to the alphabet. Much of the humor, in both words and pictures, will fly over a young child's head. Some of the wit is best suited to the age group that knows Martin and Chast from the New Yorker--adults (a letter O with an umlaut over its head asks, "Do these dots make me look fat?"). But there's enough silliness to intrigue some elementary schoolers, especially those who enjoy wordplay: "David the dog-faced boy, dingy and dirty / Tried to look dapper donning a derby" appears on one of the more kid-friendly spreads, which shows David pulling on a tiny hat while passing a sign admonishing, "Drooling Definitely Discouraged." Some spreads are not particularly PC (hunchbacks hiding in hair), but it's hard not to giggle at the way Chast goes all-out with the artwork. As the book notes, there are "26 letters, each and every one a star." Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2008 April #1
This high-profile crossover will slide effortlessly onto the bestseller lists, but it's not likely to win its creators many new adult fans--or any child ones. Showing a fine disregard for foolish consistencies like end words that actually rhyme consistently, Martin fashions surreal situations in 26 couplets, each paired to a literal illustration from Chast strewn with both her customary cast of homely, anxious figures and other words or items that feature the selected letter. Though some spreads have a certain verbal and visual bounce--in the art for "Pedro the puppy piled poop on his paws / And Papa dog published his photo because," for instance, the peeved paternal parent brandishes a copy of "Popular Pooch," as mama dog praises a parsnip pizza--more often the captions read like random words strung together. Furthermore, some of the image choices, such as the 107 (or so) hunchbacks in Henrietta's hairdo, or the drunk wandering past David the dog-faced boy, skate to the edge of poor taste. A gallery of accented letters on the endpapers provides some added value, but not enough. Like Shirley and Milton Glaser's The Alphazeds (2003), any resemblance to a title for tots is coincidental. (Picture book. Adult) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2007 October #1

Actor, playwright and novelist Martin (Shopgirl ) branches into picture books for this nutty abecedary. No humdrum "A is for apple" list, this volume faces outrageous, alliterative couplets with full-page cartoons approximating the situations they describe. Known for skewering middle-class anxieties, Chast (Meet My Staff ) ably sketches scenes of kitchen mayhem ("Friday when Frank fixed frijoles and French fries/ His fiance Franny was covered in fruit flies") and pictures the main office for Xerxes Xylophones, where a bizarre X-perience unfolds ("Ambidextrous Alex was actually axed/ For waxing, then faxing, his boss's new slacks"). She also supplements the nonsense rhymes with added images of items that start with the highlighted letter (when "Quincy the kumquat querie[s] the queen," readers see a bookshelf of tomes on quintuplets, quantum mechanics and quartz). Martin and Chast show their mettle as each other's wacky sidekicks, performing for an all-ages crowd. Adults see two well-known artists at work, creating mind-bending tableaux, while children get a taste of original tongue-twisters. This peculiar and funny book resembles a round of the Surrealists' game of exquisite cadaver or Mad Libs, worked out in a dizzying combination of words and pictures. All ages. (Oct.)

[Page 55]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2008 January
Gr 3-6-Starting with "A," Martin composed alliterative couplets about each letter in the alphabet. Sometimes they rhyme and sometimes they nearly rhyme. Some of them are funny, like "Maniacal Marvin munched many a macaroon,/Making his middle a mini hot air balloon." Others are less so, like "Iggy's aunt Ida, indecent in undies,/Hid icicles under her Indian uncle." With vocabulary like "gravlax" and "vainglorious," the text flies over the heads of anyone in the primary grades, but older children might find the quirky text appealing. Chast illustrates each of Martin's strange rhymes with pen and watercolor in a style reminiscent of political cartoons. In each picture, she adds extra humorous references to the featured letter. She has also illustrated the endpapers, on which non-English letters discuss why they haven't been included in the book. The art, like the text, is more appropriate for older children (yet how many of them read alphabet books?).-Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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