CM . . . . Volume XV Number 21. . . .June 12, 2009.
Joanne Schwartz. Photos by Matt Beam.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press, 2009.
60 pp., pbk. & hc., $12.95 (pbk.), $18.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-88899-962-7 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-88899-928-3 (hc.).
Toronto (Ont.)-Pictorial works-Juvenile literature.
English language-Alphabet-Juvenile literature.
Grades 2-5 / Ages 7-10.
Review by Linda Ludke.
Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.
A a Art
Printed on paper, pasted on concrete. Lamppost.
Matt Beam searched the streets, sidewalks and shadows of Toronto looking for words. His striking photographs are collected in this urban alphabet book.
On each page, the featured letter appears in upper and lower cases. The thick letters look like they are cut out of the accompanying photographs. They are closeups of the concrete, rusted steel or mottled glass backgrounds. The word shown in the photograph follows in smaller black type. A brief footnote provides more information, such as the material the word was written on and where it was found.
The photographs artfully capture “random occurrences in the urban environment.” “Forever” is etched in concrete on a city sidewalk. “Shoes” is stenciled on the side of a freight car below two rust marks that look like footprints. “Brute” is spray-painted across a metal grate. Words like “Evoke”, “Vice” and “Um” (all found written in back alleys) contribute to the edgy, metropolitan feel.
City Alphabet inspires children to take a keen look at their own environment. Reluctant readers will find words waiting to be discovered everywhere. Pair this title with Zoran Milich’s City ABC Book (Kids Can, 2001), City Signs (Kids Can, 2002) and City Colors (Kids Can, 2004) and go on a literacy walk.
Linda Ludke is a librarian in London, ON.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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