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The Disappearing Alphabet

4.4 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Harcourt, Brace; Reprint. edition (January 1, 1997)
  • ASIN: B0041114WC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Richard Wilbur's The Disappearing Alphabet imagines what the world would be like if the letters of the alphabet vanished, in verses on subjects ranging from the ordinary to silly to sublime and existential. For instance, without "G," there would be no green and oak trees would be blue and pastures pink; without "N," birds would have wigs instead of wings; as for "O":

What if there were no letter O?

You couldn't COME, you couldn't GO,

You couldn't ROVE, you couldn't ROAM,

And yet you couldn't stay at HOME!

Where would you be, had heaven not sent you

The letter O to orient you?

Each letter is portrayed on a single page, with verses ranging from two to twelve lines. Each verse is beautifully illustrated by David Diaz's exquisite and unexpected designs, such as a lovely banana with a disgusting eel instead of a peel (illustrating the importance of the letter "P"). Diaz's illustrations are stylized in intense, gradient, glowing colors. The illustrations each overlay a pale yellow version of the letter found somewhere in the background of the page. The type is treated with the same care as the illustrations, with the letter to which the verse is addressed set off in a bold, colorful, sans serif font. Younger children will enjoy the nonsense-like poetry and the playfulness of the language, while older children will discover new and unusual vocabulary words and find inspiration by the possibilities of language. The introduction exhorts children to protect the alphabet: "Be careful, then, my friends, and do not let / Anything happen to the alphabet." This book will offer children of all ages an appreciation of letters, words, and language.
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Format: Hardcover
I highly recommend this book. The lines are easy to remember, and are very quotable. They provide an introduction to poetry and to the play with language. They introduce vocabulary with humor. The illustrations are quite extraordinary, the print of high quality.
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Format: Hardcover
What would you do if the first letter of your name would disappear? Richard Wilbur gives a comical way to view the disappearance of the alphabet. He makes his readers think about the importance of the alphabet. 'What if there were no letter A? Cows would eat HY instead of HAY' This would be an excellent book to read to elementary students. After reading this book, they could think of what other words would be or sound like with a letter missing. The illustrations by David Diaz are unique to say the least. He uses vibrant colors and illustraions to stress the importance of what Wilbur is trying to convey. This book made me think about the alphabet in a different way. It will do the same for young readers.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I liked this book so much when my granddaughter and I got it from the library that I bought a copy. Delightful examples of the importance of evey letter and wonderful artwork. Older children--up to middle school--will get the spelling implications better but even much younger ones will enjoy the humor.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I used this book in my K class and they understood some of it. I would recommend this book for grades 3 and up.
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