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Creature ABC Hardcover – July 29, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Zuckerman's striking animal photographs are put to excellent use in this book—part abecedarian, part guessing game. Each letter is given two spreads. The first shows the letter in upper and lower case next to an animal; the second reveals the animal's name and offers a different view of the creature. Some touches are especially clever: a kangaroo and a lion seem to stare at each other during an interlude between K and L, and while the rest of the book features stark white backgrounds, the letter N is shown against black—a page turn uncovers a group of nocturnal animals. All ages. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


This is a first choice for libraries, and it should be a welcome suggestion to parents seeking ideas for holiday shopping.

What makes this ABC book stand out are the photos: they're positively eye candy.

...[S]umptuous...Zuckerman connects with his subjects to an uncanny degree.

Eye candy that makes learning one's ABCs pure pleasure.

The power behind this thick, square alphabet book lies in the breathtaking photography....Based on photographs from Zuckerman's adult coffee table book Creature, this playful trip through the alphabet and nature will be visually inspiring for young children.

A book to remind you what photography's really all about All things considered Creature ABC is perhaps one of the most beautifully photographed ABC books I've ever seen A jaw-dropping affair.

Zuckerman's striking animal photographs are put to excellent use in this book...

One can only envision the poetry and writing that would be encouraged by these amazing photographs.

Children will marvel at the portraits....the large format will make for fantastic lap-sit sessions.


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Product Details

  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Hardcover: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (July 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811869784
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811869782
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 0.9 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,631 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Andrew Zuckerman (American, b.1977)

Noted filmmaker and photographer, Andrew Zuckerman, utilizes a multitude of platforms to produce work that is systematically executed, conceptually based, and democratically presented. Minimalist in nature, Zuckerman aims to create atmospheres of clarity and neutrality to facilitate the viewer's access to the material. His commitment to diversifying the points of entry into his work has garnered a global audience.

Zuckerman first made his mark on the publishing world with the 2007 release of CREATURE, a compendium of intimate animal portraits set against his signature white background. He has since explored this distinctive approach - which divorces subjects from their context and equalizes the larger conversation between them - in four additional critically acclaimed multi-media projects: WISDOM (2008), BIRD (2009), MUSIC (2010), and FLOWER (2012). Renowned designer, Massimo Vignelli, has lauded Zuckerman's "uncompromising notion of space in which any object becomes its own essence." His books have been translated into numerous languages and published in 18 international editions.

Exhibitions of Zuckerman's work include a solo show of photographs from CREATURE at the Forma International Center of Photography in Milan and the ongoing WISDOM traveling exhibition, featuring portraits and interviews with extraordinary individuals over the age of 65, including Nelson Mandela, Andrew Wyeth, and Chuck Close. It premiered at the State Library of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. In July 2008, Zuckerman's portrait of Nelson Mandela appeared on the cover of Time magazine. Zuckerman's companion film to BIRD has been exhibited on The High Line in New York City in 2009, and at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston in 2010. Photographs from BIRD were on display at Colette in Paris. His short film, "High Falls," premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, and was selected as Best Short Film at the Woodstock Film Festival the same year. Writer David Carr called the project "a pretty film and a pretty smart film" in his New York Times review. In 2010, Zuckerman interviewed and photographed over fifty eminent musicians, composers, and producers (from Ornette Coleman to Iggy Pop) for the MUSIC project, which was realized as a book, film, and iPad app. His most recent multimedia project, FLOWER, includes images of over 250 varieties of flora with an accompanying taxonomical index and time lapse films of the life cycles of seven species, which were created from thousands of high definition stills. Filmmaker David Lynch has called FLOWER "a grand celebration of mother nature's artistry." CREATURE, BIRD, and FLOWER are informed by a conservationist approach.

Zuckerman's work has been commissioned by influential international brands and for inclusion in major private collections.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By aaa-Pam TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
If kids had coffee tables, "Creature ABC" would be on them. It's an absolutely gorgeous book. In fact, it could very well be the sort of book that people buy for kids, look at 'carefully' with kids, and then put away for their children's children.

Which is to say that Andrew Zuckerman's photography and layout is amazing.

What you will fine in Mr. Zuckerman's book are various pictures of animals associated with letters of the alphabet. This, of course, is nothing new. But what makes these images special is the perspective and how everything is placed on the white-white background.

For example, for the letter "A" we have Alligator. Four pages for him. On one page there is only giant upper and lower case A's. On the two following pages there is our gator friend, in all his glory, along with the word 'alligator'. But what really struck me as wondrous, was the picture of his foot on the very first page. It's a macro shot and just stunning. You can see the remarkable bumpiness of the alligator's skin, and these long toenails. One amazing foot (that looks like it's had a pedicure).

Not all creatures have the same treatment. The elephant, with it's huge foot is shown up close along with another photo which is a head shot; but not the dove. With it's sweet pictures we get a sense of motion as she is caught in mid-flight. Other creatures are treated as a category. "I", for example, is for insects.

But no matter which letter/animal you choose, the images and poses are interesting. (The lion looks like he's had a glamour shot :)

Do check this one out. It's definitely worth a look.

Talking Points :::
o Amazing photography. The depth and clarity of the shots defies easy description.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on August 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Each year there's a spate of alphabet books that flood the market willy-nilly. And in this day and age when kids become jaded around the age of three, if you're going to do something abecedarian you're gonna need a gimmick. Maybe each letter will stand for a different amusing spy. Maybe they'll dance up a coconut tree to a jazzy jungle beat. Perhaps your alphabet will be constructed out of street signs and city symbols. Whatever it is, it better be great or the general buying public will have none of it. Andrew Zuckerman, by the way, has an alphabet book coming out this year. And I suppose you could say that he even has a gimmick, if by "gimmick" you mean "an awesome series of dead gorgeous photographs of every conceivable animal". Creature ABC is a kid-friendly version of the adult book Creature produced roughly two years ago. And like the kangaroo jumping away from the letter "K", this book offers a sharp kick to every grown-up and child lucky enough to get their hands on it. A book to remind you what photography's really all about.

The striped zebra endpapers offer right from the start the kind of stark black and white feel you're going to find in this book. Turn the pages and on the left-hand page is a leg. A leg covered in marbled black scales, opening up into a five-toed foot, three nails blunt and evident. On the right-hand page is just an "Aa". Turn the page again and you find yourself nose-to-nose with a full sized alligator. The word "alligator" is nestled to its right, and one green slitted eye watches you, hungry. This format continues throughout the book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Weathers on February 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My two year old son loves this book. I first checked it out for him at the library, but he loved it so much that I bought a copy for him for Christmas. The animal pictures are great, and it helps my son learn his alphabet.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By on December 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
We have a great collection of alphabet books, but this one stands head and shoulders, beak and tail above most of them! Amazing, spellbinding animal photography makes this a book that your children will get hours of pleasure from. It will also be one of those books that can stand the test of time for when the next generation is ready to learn the alphabet.

Some basic explanation: Each animal is assigned four pages. Two pages proclaim the letter in a big black font with a photo of that animal, while the next two pages give the animal's name with a different photo. All white backgrounds and a bold black font gives a no-nonsense attitude and puts the focus squarely on the animals.

As you can see by the examples here, this is truly astonishing photography. Some of the pictures appear so perfect that the animals don't even look real. Andrew Zuckerman first published Creature in 2007, which was 300 pages of studio portraits taken of 175 wild creatures, retailing for $60. He pared down the animals to fit the alphabet and added a few extras to bring us the more affordable version of Creature ABC. Check out the trailer below that shows some of the the studio time that went into the making of the original Creature.

If children had coffee tables, this would be on the top of the stack. They will come for the animals and stay for the entire alphabet. A beautiful book that we will look through again and again, long after the alphabet has been memorized. A great choice for all ages!
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