Thursday, September 02, 2010

Children's Book Review: A DELUGE OF DOGS

In the world of children’s publishing, one of the easiest books to write and publish is the alphabet book. Alphabet books are supposed to be designed to help children learn the alphabet by having a line or lyric about each letter. Take, for example the classic, “A is for apple, B is for ball, C is for cat, etc.” I’m not a very big fan of alphabet books. The majority of them tend to be trite and drivel that really don’t attempt to contribute to expanding a young person’s (or a person learning English) knowledge of the English language. On the other hand, there are some alphabet books that though they don’t contain any great word play, they are filled with gorgeous illustrations that are works of art. It is rare that one comes across and alphabet book that tries something different, has great illustrations, and is fun to read for both kids and adults. A DELUGE OF DOGS is such a book.

The book takes the concept of the alphabet book and ties it together with dogs. Kids love dogs and many adults do, too. However, the author takes the concept one step further by using some entertaining wordplay through the use of alliteration, assonance, and rhyme. There are 26 different dogs in the book, each beginning with a different letter of the alphabet. The words that the author uses with the names are unusual and great for expanding one’s vocabulary. A few examples include “A is for Astro aglow in a tree”, “Q is for Quentin quenching his thirst”, and “X is for Xerxes exhorting a yak.”

Accompanying the H.C. Fargot’s text are the vibrant illustrations by Wrolf Bronesby. Not only are the illustrations works of art in themselves, but they give the words an added layer of meaning. For instance “M is for Murphy making ends meet” we see the dog Murphy sniffing the rear end of another puppy and in “R is for Riley realizing the wurst” we see a dog named Riley running down the street with a link of sausages in his mouth.

Alphabet books are a dime for a dozen, but A DELUGE OF DOGS is a superior alphabet book that both children and adults will enjoy reading and looking through.

No comments: