A is for Art


Written and Illustrated by Stephen Johnson

Clarion Books, 2006


Meditation on the Memory of a Princess

Motionless, a man-made, monochromatic magenta mass mimics multiple mattresses and makes a massive mound near a mini mauve marble

This one is called Hoopla!  (I hope my fellow Adventurers Club fans just yelled "Hoopla!" at the screen.)

This one is called Hoopla! (I hope my fellow Adventurers Club fans just yelled “Hoopla!” at the screen.)

The alphabet theme:  Abstract art pieces are based on each letter of the alphabet

Our final alphabet book is one of the most fascinating I have read and is perhaps more interesting to older kids and adults than to small children.  Stephen Johnson is an artist who embraces realism and abstraction and puts them together in pieces of art that are beautiful and thought-provoking.   To create the pieces in this book, he chose words from the alphabet and created visual works of art from the images they inspired.  As you can see from our example, he also had a tremendous amount of fun coming up with alliterative descriptions of each piece.

I have always been a fan of abstract art and I think I have read this book cover to cover about a dozen times over the last month, finding something new each time.  And this is not Mr. Johnson’s first alphabet book.  He also authored Alphabet City, in which he discovers letter shapes hidden in the architecture and fixtures of a busy city.  So I’ll recommend that one, as well (as a Super Secret Bonus bonus book).  If you’re looking to introduce your kids to art that goes beyond your normal picture books, either of these books is a great way to start.

The X Factor:  He brings it all here, with a picture featuring x-rays and xerographs of xylophones and comments that they examine experiences exactly, expertly and exquisitely.   Excellent.


And there you have it!  That concludes our month long exploration of alphabet books.  I seriously had no idea there were such a variety of them out there.  In May, we’ll return to reviewing regular books, but look for more theme months coming up in the future.   Can’t wait to see what else is out there to discover!


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