Reviews for Graphic Alphabet


Horn Book Guide Reviews 1997
An aptly titled alphabet book places the emphasis on letterforms, color, and design, presenting each letter in a way that reflects the meaning of the word beneath it. The book is clearly not for young readers -- the letters are often shown tipped, tilted, or skewed, in capitals or lowercase. Pelletier even manages a few touches of humor, mainly due to some surprising word choices and his whimsically clever methods of illustrating them. Copyright 1998 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 1996 #6
A large, square alphabet book for older readers and adults is aptly titled. The illustrator, who is a graphic designer, places the emphasis on letterforms, color, and design, presenting each letter inside a rich black square in a way that reflects the meaning of the word beneath it. "Avalanche" shows a thick, yellow A on a black background, with portions of the top of the letter torn off and tumbling down the side. "Bounce" shows two dotted lines arcing up to indicate the path of a ball. With a little thought, we see that the arcs indicate a B tipped on its side. While this concept is not an entirely new one, the execution heralds a new illustrative style we will surely see more of. The art has been created on a computer using software that graphic designers and some children's book illustrators have been using for several years now, but that most of the public has not seen used in this spare, straightforward way. By the time we come to "Devil" (a red capital D on its belly with large pointed serifs resembling a devil's horns), it is clear that this is not a book for young children. For one thing, the letters are frequently difficult to discern at first glance. They are often shown tipped, tilted, or skewed; Pelletier sometimes shows capitals and sometimes lower case, depending on which works better graphically; and the subtle use of color requires that the book be enjoyed under full bright light. For such a stately presentation, Pelletier even manages a few touches of humor, mainly due to some surprising word choices and his whimsically clever methods of illustrating them. Even X, the most challenging (and often least successfully illustrated) letter, receives a stunningly unusual yet simple treatment, showing what looks like an actual x-ray of two crossed fingers. lolly robinson Copyright 1998 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 1996 August
~ This clever, at times challenging, alphabet book is as graphically beautiful as Chris Van Allsburg's The Z Was Zapped (1987). Newcomer Pelletier's presentation is all spareness and subtlety, asking onlookers to determine the letter from the picture, and supplying one-word clues. A spalls off pieces to become an avalanche; I is a submerged rectangle drifting through blue waters under a full moon in a night sky--iceberg; the M has snow-capped peaks, and appears with the word Mountains. A number of the letters are displayed at unusual angles--the P cants to become a pipe; for L, lines in turquoise and white form delicate edges for four squares of black. The choices convey a wonderful sense of the adaptability of letters, and, by association, of words. The letters will inspire dialogue when shared, e.g., Why is the I submerged so deep? Equally cunning are letters like R, a jagged rip of fiery red, or the crossed fingers on an X-ray image. They take a little time to decipher; for those already accomplished at ABC basics, the extra work will be worth every minute. (Picture book. 3+) Copyright 1999 Kirkus Reviews

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 1996 September #3
This arresting alphabet book is far removed from the ``A is for Apple'' school of abecedaries. Here, A is for Avalanche, and the churning snow in the accompanying illustration crumbles from the summit of an A-shaped mountain. B is for Bounce, and the arcing path of a blue ball loops to form the outer curves of that letter. Each of the 26 letters is thus ingeniously featured in an illustration that represents the word in question. Glossy and elegant, Pelletier's debut work is striking for the clean lines of its images and the overarching simplicity of its composition. Each letter is showcased against a sleek black background, vivid colors against a square of darkness. There is humor here, too: set sideways, the letter D glows as a horned red devil; in a ghoulish X ray two bony fingers overlap to form an X. Even so, this book is too sophisticated for kids just learning their ABC's; it may best suit older children with an interest in art and adults with an interest in graphic design. All ages. (Sept.) Copyright 1996 Cahners Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 1996 November
Gr 1 Up-Graphic designer David Pelletier has created a striking and imaginative concept book. Against a stark, black backdrop, each vibrantly colored letter of the alphabet interprets a single word. The words are serendipitous. There appears to be no theme or criteria for their selection. Although they are mostly nouns, e.g., avalanche, devil, mountains, and edge, an occasional verb materializes (e.g., hover and juggle). This free association of words, the mixture of parts of speech, and the sophisticated visuals may be confusing to very young children, but the designs are fascinating. It is the graphics that give the book continuity. In a minimalistic fashion, intriguing shapes and spatial elements have been conceived. Like Chris Van Allsburg's The Z Was Zapped (Houghton, 1987) and Stephen Johnson's Alphabet City (Viking, 1995), this book challenges the mind and eye through the artist's unique perspective. It could elicit some interesting discussions as to the effectiveness of each design and why it works. A fine choice for examining the creative use of line, form, and space.-Carol Schene, Taunton Public Schools, MA

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