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The Ultimate Alphabet [Hardcover]

Mike WILKS
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 22 1986
First published in 1986, this book includes a painting of each letter of the alphabet - with no less than 7825 objects in total. With an almost surrealist juxtaposition of unrelated objects - cherub, catapult, cyclops for the letter C and shuttlecock, sax and suspenders for the letter S.
--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Alphabet....LITERALLY! April 17 2004
By Gina
Format:Paperback
At first I wasn't sure I liked the book. I didn't like some of the darker pictures like 'Y', or the rhymes that didn't really make any sense to me, but I proved myself wrong. This book is sooo addicting! You could sit down for hours scavenging for words. There are so many!
Some people may mistake this for a little kiddy alphabet book. It couldn't be any less kiddy-ish! It's hard because it's not like the 'I Spy' books, where it has a little rhyme telling you what to find. There aren't many guidelines there to tell you what's in the picture. You have to figure it out yourself. Also, a lot of the words are pretty hard.
This book is definitely worth buying. Buy it and you'll never EVER be bored again!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Look and Learn July 14 2002
Format:Hardcover
I first heard of Mike Wilks when I was nearly 16. We saw a video about him in my art class at school back in 1992. All the kids looked pretty impressed, I certainly was. The film showed the way Wilks produces his pictures. We saw his studio in the Pyrenees mountains, an obsessively clean, sparkling white room, where the artist works in complete silence. The video made it quite clear that Wilks is a perfectionist, treating every image with the utmost care.
I finally bought "The Annotated Ultimate Alphabet" about five years after seeing the video. The quality of the artwork is incredible, there aren't many books like this around. Not only is this book entertaining, it is useful as well. Apparently Mike Wilks was influenced by Salvador Dali, but I think he is better than that. My favourite page is the letter "S", a room filled with more than 1000 objects beginning with that letter. I still can't name everything.
There are all kinds of objects in this book, ranging from the very common, to the really obscure. Some things are instantly recognisable, others will leave you completely baffled. It would be no exaggeration to say that anyone who reads this book and absorbs it fully will become an excellent Scrabble player.
In these images Mike Wilks demonstrates exeptional ability, particularly with the airbrush. Here we see draftsmanship of the highest order, just about every member of the animal kingdom is represented accurately. Pen and ink drawings accompany the word lists, giving additional nourishment to a growing vocabulary.
This book gives new meaning to that phrase about a picture saying a thousand words.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Look and Learn July 14 2002
By Greg Hughes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I first heard of Mike Wilks when I was nearly 16. We saw a video about him in my art class at school back in 1992. All the kids looked pretty impressed, I certainly was. The film showed the way Wilks produces his pictures. We saw his studio in the Pyrenees mountains, an obsessively clean, sparkling white room, where the artist works in complete silence. The video made it quite clear that Wilks is a perfectionist, treating every image with the utmost care.
I finally bought "The Annotated Ultimate Alphabet" about five years after seeing the video. The quality of the artwork is incredible, there aren't many books like this around. Not only is this book entertaining, it is useful as well. Apparently Mike Wilks was influenced by Salvador Dali, but I think he is better than that. My favourite page is the letter "S", a room filled with more than 1000 objects beginning with that letter. I still can't name everything.
There are all kinds of objects in this book, ranging from the very common, to the really obscure. Some things are instantly recognisable, others will leave you completely baffled. It would be no exaggeration to say that anyone who reads this book and absorbs it fully will become an excellent Scrabble player.
In these images Mike Wilks demonstrates exeptional ability, particularly with the airbrush. Here we see draftsmanship of the highest order, just about every member of the animal kingdom is represented accurately. Pen and ink drawings accompany the word lists, giving additional nourishment to a growing vocabulary.
This book gives new meaning to that phrase about a picture saying a thousand words.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gift from Mike Wilks to everyone! Oct. 25 2000
By "judithb" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a picturebook for people of all ages. I bought all 5 copies the shop had in stock when I found it about 10 years ago - kept one for myself and the rest were gratefully accepted Xmas gifts (for adults).
There is one beautifully rendered, extraordinary detailed, surrealistic picture for each letter of the alphabet. Each picture contains as many items/things/people with names beginning with that letter that Mike Wilks could think of - usually hundreds and many are quite obscure at first, but so obvious later.
Taking a lead from Rembrandt, each picture also contains a self-portrait of the amazingly talented artist, but although this is no simple "Where's Wally", they are similar in that what you have to do is work out as many of the items as you can. In the Annotated Ultimate Alphabet, an outline drawing accompanies each picture so you get a bit of a hint of what you're looking for, and there is a solution for each picture, often containing even more information. I've learned more about knots, kegs, parts of a horse, joints (the carpentry kind), symbols, various alphabets and arches than I've ever learned from any other one book and this one is only about half an inch thick and heaps more fun than an encyclopaedia. I have had as much fun looking at these pictures with my 34-year-old sister as my 9-year-old niece.
I would love to go to the bar where one of the other reviewers encountered it - what a wonderful way to share the genius of this artist!
This book is worthy of remaining in print forever. If you ever see one, grab it, because it makes a wonderful present (if you can bear to part with it).
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ABCs for Grownups March 25 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is an amazing book. It's an alphabet book, but a very, very sophisticated one. Each of the twenty-six gorgeously rendered paintings is made up of myriad items beginning with the corresponding letter of the alphabet. And not just concrete objects, but things like a Painter, Painting a Partially finished Panda. There are national flags, there are morse code, semaphore, rune, Hebrew, and sign language versions of letters; mythological references, obscure symbols, quirky visual puns, and much, much more. Most of the illustrations have between 200 and 500 words represented, with over a thousand for the letter "S"! The illustrations are glorious, with glowing, jewel-like colors, and somehow avoid looking cluttered or haphazard despite the vast array of items pictured. If you love words and/or puzzles, this is indeed the ultimate book. I guarantee you'll spend hours with it, and discover new things each time you look. Art lovers will be enchanted, too; the book opens with the author/artist's detailed description of his creative process. Definitely worth looking for!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, an alphabet book for adults too April 10 2002
By "lunashores" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you've never seen this book, you dont know what your missing. This is by far one of the best Art / Puzzle / Alphabet books ever writen (or in this case, painted). Mike Wilks is amazing. He paints hundread of things starting with each letter into each picture. Its great because you have to be creative to figure out them all. If you can find this book, buy it, its totally worth it. I hope the republish it sometime soon.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My all time favorite book.... Aug. 21 1999
By Hayley D McHugh (smash@net21.com.au) - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I first got my copy of The ultimate alphabet 12 years ago when it was first published... I was 7 years old and my Dad and I sat up almost all night ( at least till bed-time ) looking at the pictures. It has to be one of the most amazing books ever produced. I would also strongly suggest taking a look at Mike Wilks' latest creation "Metamorphosis" It gives a real insight into the Artists life and why he spends so much time on his work ( Ultimate alphabet took about 8 years). He is truely an amazing man and this is an amazing book... if any members of the publishing house read this PLEASE re-release it I'm sure there are other fans out there like me who have had their original ( pristine ) copies heartlesly scribbled on by a destructive sibling. If you're planning on reading only one more picture book ( and I use that term very loosly) in your life time read this one it is my altime favorite book and it will keep you intrigued for years ( 12 in my case )
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