Review posted November 14, 2012.
Greenwillow Books, 2012. 32 pages.
2012 Sonderbooks Stand-out: #3 Picture Books
Alphabet Books are necessary preparation for a child learning to read, but they definitely have the potential to be snoozers. Here's the most innovative alphabet book since Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.
Just before the title page we get a glimpse of all the animals and objects lined up in order, ready to go, with Zebra in charge. But Moose is excited and exuberant, and not really paying attention to Zebra's directions. He's the one lifting the curtain that gives us our first glimpse of the performers. After the title page, with the characters still in line, he's poking the Lollipop with the Needle.
Things start innocently and calmly, looking like a perfectly ordinary alphabet book. Then we see "D is for Moose," with Moose standing proudly, and a frantic Duck behind, obviously kicked off the page. Zebra tells Moose, "Moose does not start with D. You are on the wrong page."
Moose pops in on H is for Hat, getting right in front of the camera, asking "Is it my turn yet?" The H is blocked, but the savvy child will cleverly figure out exactly what it said.
Moose continues to lurk behind or in the pictures, getting more and more excited as M draws near. Then...
"M is for Mouse"
This definitely gets a reaction. Moose throws a fit; he tries to get in the remaining pictures, and Zebra has to block him. Finally, he's in despair -- until Zebra comes up with a lovely solution. On the back endpapers, Moose asks Zebra, "Can we do that again?"
"Yes, Moose. We can do that again."
I have no doubt at all that most preschoolers will take that as permission to start the book over again immediately.
The book has many, many details that will reward further reading. Spotting the alphabetical objects in order even when Moose gets in the way will keep children busy through many readings.