Sunday, 8 March 2015

A Little ABC Book: book review

A Little ABC Book

Book review by Trevor Agnew    

A Little ABC Book  Jenny Palmer (2014) Beatnik Books, 28pages, hardback

ISBN 978 0 9922648 0 2

This alphabet book is not for toddlers. It has been written for young readers who enjoy word-play, puns and unusual words.  Not only are the 26 animals chosen to represent the alphabet rather unusual, the verse describing each of them is imaginative and full of word play.
The final verse of the Vole poem is a good example of the fun Palmer has with words:
Voles are very well-evolved,
for when push comes to shove,
Vole is (need we spell it out?)
an anagram of love.’  
The fun is inventive: ‘Wombats dig Australia,’ Elephants ‘blow their own trumpets’ and a Yeti has ‘cool hair.’
Crustaceans, Alpacas, Meerkats, Yetis, and Tadpoles are also among the many original selections.
“Reindeer reign in snow all year,
big hooves and antlers high,
but it’s only Christmas Eve,
they gallop ‘til they fly.” 

Each creature is given its own 16-line poem, with witty puns and quips embedded in the verse. Thus Seahorses are “stable at sea” and “everyone nose” about Elephants. The author’s excellent black and white illustrations are displayed to their best on pastel-coloured pages where the appropriate letter of the alphabet can be seen in a slightly darker shade.

The size of the text is perhaps too small for older readers [of the grandparent variety] but this quirky book will appeal to sharp-eyed, sharp-witted, young readers, especially the ones who delight in knowing that an Alpaca will “always stick its neck out.”

 Trevor Agnew

Note: Publisher details:
Beatnik Publishing, PO Box 8276, Symonds St, Auckland 1150, NZ

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