Friday, June 15, 2012

Book Review - ABC Menagerie


ABC Menagerie

By: M.H. Clark and Elena V. Targioni
Publisher: Compendium Publishing & Communications
Publication Date: March 2012
ISBN: 978-1932319545
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: June 16, 2012

There are so many ABC books on the market today, with each one trying to be “different,” to stand out from the crowd. Most simply blend into the multitude and it’s a matter of choosing one that centers on a topic your child will love. But ABC Menagerie is one of the few letter books that absolutely succeeds in being different. While the use of animals in this book certainly isn’t unusual, the way the creatures come to life is utterly unique and is sure to make this book a new favorite in your house.

Told in rhyming verse, there is an animal for each letter of the alphabet. The prose is simple and silly, which meshes perfectly with the funny, goofy, and even slightly bizarre (in a good way!) creatures in the book.

Jesenia The Jaguar

Jesenia’s spots just want to escape;
they’re bouncy as new rubber balls.
She’s tried sticking them on with plenty of tape,
but they simply won’t listen at all!


What truly makes this book a stand-out, however, are the amazing felt animals the artist, Elena Targioni, has created. From an elephant who holds a saucer, spoon and cup on the tip of her long nose to an iguana who has fountain pens for his spines (he likes to write letters, of course!), these animals are completely original. But they are also bright, with adorable expressions and personalities that shine through the pages.

As I read through this book, I kept trying to pick my favorite animal. I selected several, trying to decide which was the funniest, brightest, or most unusual. It was nearly impossible to choose although I am leaning toward the walrus. Which one will be your child’s favorite?

Quill says: Don’t miss this book when searching for an ABC book for your young reader. The artwork will capture her attention and keep her coming back to read and re-read this book with all its amazing animals.