ONCE UPON AN ALPHABET, Short Stories for all the Letters, by Oliver Jeffers, Philomel Books, 2014
The sub-title pretty well says what this book is about, but it doesn’t tell you what the stories are about, and that’s where the reader becomes entertained and each hard working letter smiles because now he has his very own story. Isn’t it about time? (I can hear the author thinking that.)
The introduction, which looks as if a child wrote it in black crayon, says, “If words make up stories, and letters make up words, then stories are made of letters. In this menagerie we have stories, made of words, made FOR all the letters.” (On further reflection, the author must have written that because I can’t imagine a young reader using the word “menagerie.”)
And so all the stories, made of words, made of letters, begin. Stories from A to Z. Stories about an inventor in disguise, a forgetful king, and a parsnip that could use a tutor. And more. Because as everybody knows, there are 26 letters in the alphabet. Thus, 26 stories. If you were paying attention, I mentioned only three. No spoiler alerts here!
The author/illustrator, who was born in Australia and grew up in Belfast, has set so many tales spinning, that it’s pretty obvious his mind can’t sit still. It has to dance. (That’s what I think.) His book titles The Incredible Book Eating Boy and This Moose Belongs to Me will capture the curiosity of almost anyone. (Unless that person is in a bad mood and late for dinner.)
Oliver Jeffers says his favorite letter is O because it is his first initial, he was born in October, and there are two O’s in Brooklyn where he now lives.
Upon careful consideration and many page turnings, back and forth, my favorite letter is J because it’s my first initial and because Author Jeffers might like it, too, (it is his second initial) and because he wrote a story for “J” about an invention I’d love to have: a jelly door. If he could Just make it work.
That’s all I’m going to say. What is your favorite letter and why?
Oh, one more thing—to challenge your own creativity, go to www.oliverjeffersworld.com
That really IS all I’m going to say. Today.