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Banner: Beyond the Letters: A Retrospective of Canadian Alphabet Books
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Today's ABCs

Both of the books in this section break the mould. They take the ABC format and play with it, doing things a little differently than they have been done before. They take their readers into a world of imagination where wit reigns supreme. The illustrations in both books use papier-mâché sculptures, which are vibrantly coloured and full of character.

L'Abécédaire des robots (1999) is wired with creativity. The robot theme allows for clever wordplay and many poetic and political references. Each robot has a unique character. L'Abécédaire des animots (2000) is likewise filled with lots of fun and wit. Each animal has an occupation, described in a text that is not only poetical, but clever and amusing at the same time.

There is much going on in these books, and numerous readings will be necessary to catch everything. These sophisticated and challenging works are not in any way the familiar ABC book for the very young. These works clearly demonstrate that the constantly evolving world of Canadian literature for children continues. Who knows what will come next!

Featured Books

L'Abécédaire des animots

Bonenfant, Marjolaine ; Soulières, Robert. -- L'Abécédaire des animots. -- Photographies, Daniel Roussel ; conception graphique, Hélène Belley. -- [Saint-Lambert, Québec] : Les Heures bleues, ©2000. -- [60] p. -- ISBN 2922265129

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This entertaining ABC book is filled with fun and wit. An animal for each letter of the alphabet is given a name, the first part referring to its species, the second to its occupation. The poetical text is clever and amusing, with lots of word play, and is great for reading aloud. Children will catch the references to children's movies. The animals, sculpted in brightly painted papier-mâché, reflect their occupations. Brief information is provided for some of the more obscure animals.

L'Abécédaire des robots

Lefrançois, Alexis. -- L'Abécédaire des robots. -- Personnages, Jacques Thisdel ; textes, Alexis Lefrançois ; photographies, Claire Dufour. -- [Québec] : Les Heures bleues, ©1999. -- [59] p. -- ISBN 2922265110

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Beautifully designed, this alphabet book is wired with creativity. The robot theme provides the backdrop for a playful text containing clever word play. It is poetry that begs to be read aloud. With its many poetic and political references, this book will also be enjoyed by adults. The robots, one for each letter of the alphabet, are given unique and amusing names and individual characters. Interestingly, the alphabet letter for each robot does not fall at the beginning of the name, but somewhere within the name, set off by a typeface that differs in some creative way from the other letters. Created out of papier-mâché and beautifully photographed, the robot sculptures have been painted in bright colours, a few enhanced by other materials such as wire and, in one case, a glass bowl. Children will be delighted with the robots and may be inspired to create their own after examining this art book.