I was visiting the library with a writing pal of mine when I saw this alphabet book. There were three things about it that made me want to bring it home, but we’ll get to those in a minute.
Once Upon an Alphabet is a different type of alphabet book. Instead of the traditional “A is for Apple” book that gives each letter a page and employs a simple rhyming structure, Oliver Jeffers’ contribution to the genre is a book of flash fiction stories. Being a sucker for flash fiction, I’m predisposed to like this book.
Okay, the three reasons that made me want to bring it home are these:
- It is a hefty book. It literally stands out among the other books on the shelf because of its size. Once Upon an Alphabet is noticeably larger and thicker than other books. Simply from an economic point of view, you’d get your money’s worth out of it.
- It is gorgeously illustrated. Jeffers has a simple style that plays well with his short story format. You may recognize the illustration style due to his other, more popular book, The Day the Crayons Quit. Good stuff.
- It is self-referential. Each story showcases a different letter of the alphabet and most of the stories stand alone, but not all of them. By referencing stories from the early letters in the later letters, Jeffers creates a feeling of being on the inside of an inside joke. Readers who skip ahead to the late letters won’t get it, and that’s the point.
So maybe the next time you are at the library or indie bookstore, you could ask them about Once Upon an Alphabet.