Most alphabet books for pre-readers and early readers set out to make the somewhat abstract idea of letters as clear and as clearly linked to words as possible. In The Graphic Alphabet, graphic designer David Pelletier has created an alphabet book that aims to explore letters for their beauty and complexity as design elements as well as help teach kids how to read. His "A," for example, stands for "avalanche," and with its normally pointed top tumbling down the right diagonal, the letter doesn't just stand for the avalanche, it becomes the word. Pelletier is equally ingenious throughout. And while this might not be the best book to make the concept of letters concrete for youngsters, it will certainly help instill in them a sense of wonder about letters and words.
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.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.