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Keith Baker
ISBN 9781416991410
Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster, 2010.
4 ½ stars
Keywords: alphabet concepts humor keith-baker lmno-peas occupations

by Keith Baker

How many times have you heard your youngster get to the middle part of the “Alphabet Song” and run together “L M N O P” as if it were one word? Well, that gave Keith Baker an idea. Why not use a cast of peas to playfully introduce the letters of the alphabet? In the beginning, his peas don a beret and wield a palette like a shield (for “artists”), and blast off in a purple rocket to float in space (in the full gear of “astronauts”). Some peas bathe within the lower opening of a capital “B” while hard-hatted peas build out the top of the letter, and bikers wheel past it. The author-artist plants punch lines just for grown-ups (“some of us are kings” depicts a crowned gentleman atop a castle tower, while a pea in an Elvis ’do swoons with the mic stand). Baker also finds clever ways for scenes to do double duty. A pool of water requiring “plumbers” to fix a leak, for instance, serves as a safe landing for “parachutists.” Some of the vignettes connect, such as the biker in the lead for the “B” spread being flagged first at the finish line for “F.” (And watch for the ladybug on every spread.)  This book makes it a pleasure for a child not only to build confidence with his or her ABCs but also to contemplate the question, ‘What will you be when you grow up?’

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