Monday, June 18, 2007

An alphabet/counting book that doesn't make you want to hit yourself over the head with it by the time you get to the letter N

This book is not for children who are just learning their letters and numbers, although they might enjoy it. It is for the kids who have read dozens of alphabet books and already think they know just what to expect. This one is going to foil their expectations and make them laugh!

The book is clearly an homage to Dr. Seuss (the dedication, which is in rhyme, is in memory of "Good Doctor Ted" as well as Edward Lear), and it is engaging, silly and irreverent. The narrator (a young author/illustrator with glasses), introduces the book, calling it "an alphabet book of creachlings," but says it won't teach you ABC because none of it makes sense. The "creachlings" are intersting beasts, from the Angry Ack that eats dirty clothes (his favorite snack is stinky socks with jam packed in the toes) and the Evil Eeog (with hateful horrid breath that leaks onto the following page), all the way to the Zanderiffic Zibble Zook.

I coudn't help but think of On Beyond Zebra! as I read this with my children, but the comparison only increased rather than lessened my enjoyment because it is such a celebration of Dr. Seuss's style of writing. The creatures are fun and interesting, the rhymes are not contrived, and the narrator as a character ties everything together, creating a narrative within the simple advancing of letters and numbers.

The homage to Seuss is particularly evident in the G-is-for-the-Grand-Gzonk entry, which not only has the gzonk balancing a host of objects on his nose, one of which appears to be a goldfish in a bowl - get it? - but, we are told, it is actually a piranha. Check out the shadow made by the tower of objects - does it remind you of anyone?

G is for One Gzonk! An Alpha-Number-Bet Book by Tiny DiTerlooney (aka Tony DiTerlizzi) (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2006)


  1. Very cool book! As soon as I saw the picture I was looking for Seuss' name. You can definitely see his inspiration here. I'll have to keep this one in mind for future gifts and WAY down the line when I have kids of my own :)

  2. Thanks, Chris - I'm sure you'll enjoy it. It's funny - I bought so many books for my completely imaginary children for years and years (even before I was married), and now they are here and actually reading and enjoying them. It's kind of surreal when I stop to think about it.

  3. That's how I justify buying children's books too, lol. I have all kinds of children's books and picture books and I've bought many books that I had as a child and lost over the years that I want my children to have one day. There's something that's just so great about children's books.


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