Book review: Alphabet School, by Stephen T. Johnson

Johnson, Stephen T. Alphabet School. Simon & Schuster, 2015. $17.99. unp. 978-1-4169-2521-7. Ages 4+. P8Q9

Johnson Alphabet SchoolAfter A Is for Art and Caldecott Honor Award Alphabet City comes another series of letters found in the world of education. In contrast to the first two, Johnson uses grainy monoprints to present the “found” letters in architecture, nature, and objects—even a partially-eaten peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich that inspired the book. The full-page photograph-like pastels, watercolors, gouache, and charcoal on hot pressed watercolor paper in the book have an empty feel with no people, almost like a school during vacation. Because the letters in the image can sometimes be hard to identify for preschoolers, Alphabet School is more of an art book teaching “readers” to look into their surroundings.

October/November 2015 review by Nel Ward.

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