Animal Alphabet Book Full of Life

Article excerpt

Byline: BRANDY HILBOLDT ALLPORT

When I was two, my parents took me to the zoo. I saw animals that were big and animals that were small, and there was even one whose head was bald ... so just for you, I drew them all.

This passage appears on the jacket of a lively new release from Random House. Though the "I" never makes him or herself known on the pages, it doesn't matter. This A-to-Z primer brims with rhymes and lively illustrations that are more than enough to hold the reader's interest. Check out the big-eared, big-eyed koala that "isn't really a bear, but it's still cuddly, warm and cute, covered in fur."

Illustrations are the main attraction here, and though they are rendered in bold lines and bright blocks of color, they have few details. Oddly, it is the lack of details that infuses the animals with quirky appeal. Through subtle, different uses of white space around the peepers, the animals come to life.

The panda looks directly at the reader. Unblinking, of course, he waits his turn to be studied. …