A Pocket Alphabet

(Today is the birthday of my twins, so I have asked them to pick books for me to review.   For the first birthday review, Jenny asked for permission to write up a whole guest post, so here it is!)

Pocket Alphabet - Cover

Written and Illustrated by Chris Spencer

2004

Qq:

Quiet! Queen Quagmire quickly colors quite a quilt

The alphabet theme:  No real theme- a whimsical rhyming alphabet accompanied with charming hand-drawn pictures.

Hello! I’m Jenny, and I’m pleased to be doing the first guest-post at The Possum’s Bookshelf.  Today’s book is actually written and illustrated by my mom, and creator of The Possum’s Bookshelf: Chris Spencer.  It began when she got the Joy Sikorski calendar, “How to Draw a Radish” for Christmas in 2002 and began drawing the enchanting characters and items that you see below.  A dear family friend was quite taken with these drawings, so as a birthday gift she made for him his very own alphabet book, packed with delightful alliteration and quirky drawings.

Orangutan’s Odd Octopus Over takes Owl by One (Clearly the odd thing about the octopus is how he is keeping score of their chess game)

Orangutan’s Odd Octopus Over takes Owl by One (Clearly the odd thing about the octopus is how he is keeping score of their chess game)

The book’s charm comes in large part from its delightful hand-drawn pictures.  The characters (many of whom are animals) are filled with personality, and while the illustrations aren’t as elaborate as many books might be, they seem a perfect match for the book’s whimsical poetry.  While my mom would never consider herself an artist (despite above-average talent), she’s always been a writer at heart, and it comes across in the fun rhymes and creative uses of each letter.  Not only are there interesting choices for the nouns in the book (we see the Dalai Lama, a vole, & the Chrysler Building) but there’s great adjectives (ample, ergonomic) and verbs (overtake, disallow) and all in delightful combinations.  All in all, it was a really neat gift and it’s a fun book to read through.  Hopefully someday we will all be so lucky as to own a children’s book written by Chris Spencer.

Trivia fact: The book is called “A Pocket Alphabet” not because of its size, but because the main human character in it was named “Matthew Pocket” (after the character from Great Expectations, duh).

The X Factor:  Xavier makes a Xerox of the xylophone’s x-ray- that’s 4 uses of X, and none of them is cheating!

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2 thoughts on “A Pocket Alphabet

  1. An excellent review on your first outing!

    I’ve recently started using The Possum’s Bookshelf books (the copies that I can find in our excellent local library) as a guide for books to read to my daughter, Rachel. Rachel is well on her way to mastering the alphabet so these books are very handy and fun to read. She’s enjoyed every one so far! Alas, I fear that I will not be able to obtain “A Pocket Alphabet” because it’s no longer in print.

    Happy birthday!

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