From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2–Children who are tired of staid concept books will welcome this one–it literally turns the alphabet on its ear. Each page contains a large block letter enclosed in a square that, when viewed from a different direction–left, right, or upside-down (hence the title)–transforms into an entirely different object. For example, when "J" is rotated clockwise, it becomes, in turn, "an elephant's trunk," "a candy cane," and "a monkey's tail." Some designs, like "O," are easy to spot (bagel, owl's eye, fried egg); others, like "K" (picnic table, a mama duck with two ducklings, Martian's antennae) and "W" (two fish, a cat casting a shadow, a mountain stream), present more of a challenge. With touches of humor and a great deal of creativity, Ernst fashioned this book out of cut paper and surrounded each block with a thick black border that sets off white words. Children will enjoy tilting the pages to see the transformations and will be motivated to come up with ideas of their own.–Laurie Edwards, West Shore School District, Camp Hill, PA
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PreS-Gr. 2. Like Laura Vaccaro Seeger's The Hidden Alphabet
[BKL F 1 04], this ABC title combines clean, bold graphics with an optical game. Each brightly hued block letter appears on its own page within a box of artfully contrasting color, while a black background pops the complementary colors even more. The visual exercise comes with the lines of text that ring each page, forcing the reader to turn the book in a full counter-clockwise circle to follow the words. When viewed from the side or upside down, each letter forms abstract shapes in which the accompanying text tries to find something recognizable: a sideways Y becomes "a mermaid's tail," for example. The majority of what Ernst sees in the upended letters will be a far stretch for most kids (and even some adults). But preschoolers may use the book to learn their letters and find their own objects within the designs, while older children, including high-school art students, will enjoy the whimsy and optical challenge of finding new forms in the familiar shapes. Gillian EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved