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Bembo's Zoo: An Animal ABC Book Hardcover – April 1, 2000


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); 1st edition (April 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080506382X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805063820
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 8.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #269,365 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This high-concept abecedary, the picture book debut for de Vicq de Cumptich, should delight collectors of stylish picture books and aficionados of the graphic arts. Beautifully designed and executed in a limited palette of aqua, burnt orange, buttery cream, brown and black, the book's visual premise is the exceedingly witty manipulation of letters--in Bembo, a graceful serif font--to create each of the alphabetically correlative animals. Thus, for the letter "A," the artist stacks, tweaks, turns on end and interlaces the letters that spell "antelope" to form the creature's outline, and follows with the dextrous placement of the letters for "bison" and "crab," and so on all the way through to "yak" and "zebra." The images bristle with creative ingenuity--a circular fan of lowercase "L's" form a lion's mane, interlaced "W's" become the feathery design on an owl's wing and "S's" laid on their sides connect to suggest the gracefully fluted edge of a scallop's shell. The sassy self-portrait on the dust jacket (which spells out "Roberto") extends the conceit. Likely more appealing to an adult sensibility than to children just beginning to decode letters and words, this is an undeniably inventive and eye-catching book. All ages. (Apr.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 6-Just as Lois Ehlert created bestiaries from shapes in Color Zoo (1989) and Color Farm (1990, both HarperCollins), de Vicq de Cumptich fashions them from "roman letters of the Bembo font family," using the shapes of the letters in the names of animals to create their forms. Thus, the page for the fifth letter of the alphabet features an upper and lowercase "E" (rendered in bright orange), the spelling of the word "elephant," and an intricately designed pachyderm comprised of small and capital black letters that make up the word, some used repeatedly. The point size varies to suit the shape needed. Using a palette of black, brown, green, orange, and cream, the author achieves striking page designs by varying background and foreground color, the number of animals to a double-page spread, and placement. The effect is curiously like wrought iron, a conceit that the author plays with on the title page (the zoo's entrance). Children who know the alphabet will delight in discerning the animals and discovering the individual letters within the witty and elegant pages. Pair this with Leonard Everett Fisher's Alphabet Art (Four Winds, 1984), Jonathan Hunt's Illuminations (Bradbury, 1989), or David Pelletier's The Graphic Alphabet (Orchard, 1996) for further consideration of the forms and functions of letters.
Wendy Lukehart, Dauphin County Library, Harrisburg, PA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Bembo's Zoo is great fun to visit for children of all ages ( as well as the typographer and designer in all of us). It is the sort of book your child will keep into adulthood or search for later in life when they want to regain those early defining moments. Bembo of the title refers to the typeface whose origins date back to 1450 and which Mr. de Cumptich ambitiously and sucessfully links and assembles into animals which your child will enjoy exploring. (The author also includes a self-portrait in Bembo.) The wolf and monkey were among my favourites. A real joy, your child will see animals and letters as they have never seen them before.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
When I first saw "Bembo's Zoo:An Animal ABC Book" I was struck by its beautiful and creative design. The use of colors and the inventive connection of the letters forming shapes of animals, caught my interest right away. Then I realized what effect that could cause on a child, and how interested one would get about learning the alphabet through such a inventive play between letters and figures. I think this book is a wonderful inspiration for those who are starting to learn the ABC, and a fun way for parents to help kids discover the complex world of language.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Charlie on April 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I know this will sound like a cheezy movie or theater review but it is heartfelt. Bembo's Zoo is nothing short of astonishing, inspired, miraculous and stunning. If this book doesn't get a kid into learning their ABCs, nothing will. So turn off the TV and open a copy of Bembo's Zoo. Share it together.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By howard johnson on August 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is no ordinary alphabet book. Highly inventive use of type and modern sense of style make this a book that should entertain kids on one level and adults on another level. It's amazing to see the animals that can be created from the letters of their names. Not only should it help kids learn the alphabet, but they can become familiar with the spelling of words ranging from the fairly simple like owl or wolf, to more complex words like elephant and rhinoceros by discovering all the letters that help form the shape of each individual animal. A real modern classic....
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