Once Upon An Alphabet

Once Upon An Alphabet

Short Stories for All the Letters

Book - 2014
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The letters of our alphabet work tirelessly to make words that in turn make stories, but what if there was a story for each of the letters instead? Turn the pages of this book to find out...
Publisher: London :, HarperCollins Children's Books,, 2014
ISBN: 9780007514274
Branch Call Number: E JEF
Characteristics: 1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 32 cm


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caleherreman Aug 02, 2019

This is a family favorite (or was, when my kids were younger). A story for each letter, and you'll find more connections between the stories the more you look. The stories range from wry to laugh-out-loud, but maybe you should check out H before you read it to kids. My daughter thought the dark humor in that one was was, "mean."

Jul 14, 2019

Such a cute book! This would make a really good baby shower gift. I love the illustrations.

Jul 27, 2015

Another gem from Jeffers. Quirky, original and lots of fun!

CRRL_CraigG Jun 25, 2015

Jeffers' book is probably best suited for kindergarten or first grade due to the book's length and the fact that its humor hinges on wordplay and absurdism. Still, it would be a fantastic introduction to the concept of short stories.

LydiatheLibrarian Jun 04, 2015

26 very short stories, each dedicated to a letter of the alphabet. Atypical story topics include such things as an enigma, a lumberjack and a door made out of jelly. "Older kids" (adults) will enjoy this book as well

My clever five year old read this to me and we discussed each word and story. He loved that it was dark and unusual, and I loved that he used the word "enigma" all day. ("Are cats an enigma, mum?"). It also took us more than one sitting to get through.

May 16, 2015

SUMMARY: This is a book of stories, one of each letter of the alphabet. However, these are not cutsey stories one would expect from an alphabet book (which are usually written for children who are too young to read yet). B is for burning a bridge between two arguing neighbors. C is for a cup who accidentally smashes himself into pieces on the floor. D is for danger Delilah who stares the specter of death in the face. H is for half a house that was destroyed by a hurricane. L is for a lumberjack who keeps getting hit by lightening. P is for a very stupid parsnip.

ILLUSTRATIONS: The illustrations were created in ink and colored digitally. They are rather inconsistent. Some are very good as if time was taken on them and others were very crude. The handwritten words (of which there was plenty) was sloppy and so hard to read I skipped over it altogether.

THE GOOD: There were some clever and funny parts to this book that older children would enjoy, especially the owl and the octopus who keep showing up.
THE NOT SO GOOD: When I read an alphabet book, especially one advertised for ages 3-5, I expect it to be written on this age level. This book was not. It was full of violence, dark humor, and high vocabulary (such as E is for enigma).

AGE RECOMMENDATION: This book was written in such a way as to be suitable for ages 8-12.

bandblair Feb 04, 2015

Great for an older class. Really funny, weird stuff.

ksoles Oct 30, 2014

Forget "A is for apple, B is for bear." Oliver Jeffers, famous for stick figures and quirky tales, has recently released his longest work yet: 122 pages of stories and drawings devoted to the 26 letters of the alphabet. As Jeffers himself explains, “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.”

Thus, we first meet Edmund the astronaut who has a fear of heights. “For ages he’d been training to go on an adventure up into space to meet some aliens,” we’re told in a sentence that has multiple words starting with A. Jeffers depicts him in a characteristic, scratchy pen-and-ink drawing, climbing a ladder into the rocket ship and looking over his shoulder with a worried expression. But, in the final pages of the book, Edmund returns piloting a zeppelin, bringing the astronaut full circle and forming a cohesive whole out of fragments.

Further, the letter C denotes a cup who announces: “There’s tea in me,” and then proceeds to leap out of the cupboard towards the window, forgetting that the counter is both a long way down and made of concrete. Cup reappears in the story about O as Owl and Octopus try to repair him (Jeffers’s fans will notice the penguin and boy from "Lost and Found" in the illustration) and also in the tale of T when a typist predicts that he will again fall to pieces.

These connections make for a fun, educational trip through the alphabet. The subtle level of sophistication to both text and illustrations as well as plenty of tongue-in-cheek humour render this a brilliant gift book for young and old alike.

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May 16, 2015

mmcbeth29 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 12


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May 16, 2015

Violence: Burning of bridge between arguing neighbors, a cup smashing itself to its death, the specter of death, a hurricane destroying a house, etc.


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