Colorful illustrations from nature invite readers to identify the figures in each, from A to Z.
A big yellow "a," framed by leaves and a butterfly, introduces the convention of the book. After this, there will be no more letters, let alone words (until the final "z"). Readers proceed through the alphabet. The next double-page spread features an ant, an apple, a bird (with a beak), and a birdhouse. Following the page turn, there's a caterpillar on the left-hand page and a pair of daffodils on the right. If readers peek ahead to the alphabetical list headed "What can you see from a to z?" they'll find other items to look for on these pages: "bloom," "glove," "olives," "twig." Some words are obvious ("hand," "rabbit") and others, not so much ("inside," "vicious"). A "frog" sticks out its tongue to catch a "fly," with a "fence" in the background. A "mosquito" "mounts" a "mushroom." The varied vocabulary and mix of the concrete and the conceptual should get children and their caregivers talking. The illustrations have the look of cut-paper collage and are at their best when the shapes depicted are simple. A page-dominating "poppy" is particularly impressive, but a cluttered composition of (evidently) "eight" "edible" greens is a challenge. It may take readers some time to find their feet, and there are several obscurities: a Julia butterfly? Violet ground beetle? With a little patience, children should enjoy guessing and learning with these attractive pictures.