Monday, July 19, 2010

Alpha Oops! H is for Halloween

Alethea Kontis; Illustrated by Bob Kolar

It feels strange to be reading and writing about Halloween mid-summer. Autumn is my favorite season and I'm so easily sucked in by Bob Kolar's illustrations while flipping through this book. Three pages in I'm longing for jack-o-lanterns, piles of crunchy leaves and the challenge of deciding on the perfect costumes for the kiddos. I have to shake it off - it's only July!

Naturally, all alphabet books begin with the letter A.  What if A isn't ready?  If it's a Halloween book, then H can start the show.  But what is A still isn't ready?? Then it becomes an alphabet free for all.  Letters are being introduced willy-nilly with little preparation, even with Z trying to restore some order.  P is for pirate, but B is miffed because that was his costume for buccaneer
The letter have to come up with some pretty creative costumes, including queasy for Q and eyeball for E. Some are pretty obscure, like kraken and lycanthrope, both of which I had to look up.  Kudos to the author for getting kids to the dictionary! Jack-o-lantern (boo hoo, little jack) is passed up for the less traditional jitters, though we still get witch, devil and vampire.  B is the grand finale, but I'll leave you to guess what he calls out. 

When Alpha Oops! The Day Z Went First was published four years ago, it was received with cheers and glowing reviews.  The same will certainly be true for this Halloween edition.  Bob Kolar's illustrations are bright and wonderful - they make the alphabet come alive!  Like the preceding book, the letters run along the bottom of the page, so readers can keep track of those that have appeared and which ones are still waiting in the wings. By the time A puts in an appearance as apple, three quarters of the alphabet is already filled in. Kids like to keep track of these sorts of things, you know.
Side note: I like Bob Kolar's blog post, where he admits he still gets nervous when his book debuts.  I guess that proves all his success hasn't gone to his head. 

Review copy provided by Candlewick Press.

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