Monday, December 5, 2011

Al Pha's Bet

Publishers Weekly (March 7, 2011)

Rosenthal's (Duck! Rabbit!) Al Pha is a character from ancient history, a man who "lived back when all sorts of things were being invented. Like fire. The wheel. Shadows." He's a funny-looking guy, too, with a thumblike body and jellified arms. In a private bet with himself, he takes up the king's challenge to arrange the letters of the alphabet in a beautiful order. Durand's (Big Rabbit's Bad Mood) loopy acrylic paintings carry the story through a long, long middle section about how Al comes to arrange each of the letters as he does ("Gee, I really am doing it. G-that can be the next letter!"), populating Al's world with a wacky assortment of proto-trees and flowers, as well as a cast of equally goofy-looking villagers and animals. Pages are well designed and visually lively throughout, the text peppered with spot illustrations. At long last Al's project is done, and-predictably-the king recognizes his effort and names the alphabet after Al and his private wager. Fans of dopey puns everywhere, rejoice! Ages 3-5. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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