A IS FOR ALLIGUITAR by Nancy Raines Day, illustrated by Herb Leonhard, Pelican Publishing Company, 2012
What, exactly, are alphabeasts? According to Nancy Raines Day, it’s a creative mix of animals and musical instruments.
The author revved up her imagination and created a jamboree of jacosity. I can be imaginative, too. I made that word up. But it seemed to fit this fun-filled book.
Picture books, including the ever-popular alphabet books, should always work on several levels, and of course, this one does. Light, happy A-Z rhymes, animals, musical instruments, and an imagination on the loose make this one of those books you’ll be handed by your toddler over and over again. Get ready to read.
To keep yourself sane, think of all those animals and musical instruments YOU could merge. Older children will be only too happy to get in on the madness.
All the animals, no matter where illustrator Leonhard shows them rehearsing, have a destination. Is it Carnegie Hall? (Only the author knows this!)
The contrababoon serenades a fairly interested looking family of gorillas while the monkey in the apartment next door is not as happy with his similar looking simian, the drumonkey. Wonder why?
Where the sand is hot and cacti offer little shade, the llamaracas hoof it up. Ask your little listeners if they can hear them coming.
Meanwhile back on city streets, the tromboa is all wrapped up in his work. Ask a five year old to tell you the tale of that tail.
The illustrations are wild and wacky. Like the imaginative verse, the artwork will inspire your budding artist to sketch and color his creations, too.
Then strike up the band. On the last page all the alphabeasts come together on a stage under the direction of an exuberant conductor who looks like a penguin. Author Day has not provided him with a verse. Maybe she’s challenging her legion of readers. That’s you. Challenge or not, the author promises, “They make music together like you’ve never heard.”
Now, isn’t it exhilarating to do something besides point and click?