"The jungle way by night and day is full of cries and amber eyes while Zulus prance in snake-like dance to grooves hypnotic quite exotic"--these words rhythmically dance down the title page and back cover of Michael Roberts' gorgeous, oversized, color-drenched alphabet book. Roberts, perhaps best known for the collage covers he has created for The New Yorker
magazine, is also a photographer, filmmaker, and set designer. As an alphabet book, The Jungle ABC
works like this: each letter is represented by a breathtaking African scene corresponding to that letter. For example, "A" is paired with a giant antelope head, artfully crafted from colored paper cutouts. If you can't tell the image is an antelope, you flip to the back of the book, where all 26 words are identified, from Antelope to Queen to Xylophones to Zebras. Children will learn about the African kraal
, and perhaps what an impala looks like. In the foreword, world-famous model Iman writes about the mystery and power of the African jungle, and how "the tigress inspired my every step; the graceful, erect arch of the giraffe formed my posture." We almost forget this exhilarating visual explosion is an alphabet book, as Roberts effectively distracts us with the power and beauty of Africa. (All ages) --Karin Snelson
From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 3?Yet another variation on the alphabet concept-book theme. This title uses images from Africa to illustrate the different letters. While the title indicates a jungle setting, the words employed span a broader African scope. For example, the text includes impalas and zebras, which are indigenous to the open savannahs. Problematic letters such as U and X are dealt with by the conventional choices of "umbrella" and "xylophone." Most of the vocabulary will be accessible to children except for the word "kraal," which is not defined. The oversized cut-paper collages are striking and vibrant. However, the page layout omits the actual word that the picture represents. With the individual letter as their only clue, readers must attempt to guess what the picture represents or refer to the word list at the back of the book. For children just learning the alphabet, this arrangement is especially awkward. They will need significant guidance from adults in order to appreciate this title and there is not enough here to hold the interest of more sophisticated audiences. A foreword by fashion model Iman is also an odd touch. A graphically beautiful mixed bag that somehow misses the mark.?Rosalyn Pierini, San Luis Obispo City-County Library, CA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.