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A Call for a New Alphabet
ISBN: 9781580892285
Author: Czekaj, Jef
Publisher: Charlesbridge Pub Inc
Published: February 2011
Retail: $12.95    OUR PRICE: $2.99
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Annotation: Tired of being near the end of the alphabet, starting few words, and being governed by grammar rules, X calls for a vote on a new Alphabet Constitution, then dreams of how life would be if he became a different letter.
Additional Information
Target Grade: 2-3
Grade level: 2-3
Physical Information: 0.25" H x 25.00" L x 6.25" W
Bargain Category: Early Elementary, Graphic Novel, Growing Up, Reference, Upper Elementary
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Fall)
Disgruntled X incites the other letters to question the authority of alphabetical sequence. They then vote on whether to create a new order. Czekaj's block letters feature appropriate attributes (e.g., H wears a hardhat and high heels, Z sports a zipper). The eclectic design mixes regular typesetting with word balloons and keeps the pace lively with full spreads, inset boxes, and panels. Copyright 2011 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2011 #3)
X is disgruntled. Of all the letters in Alphabet City, he seems to have the least to do and always finds himself near the end -- third from last, to be exact. Hopping onto a soapbox, he incites the other letters to question the authority of spelling rules and alphabetical sequence. Isn't Q tired of having to spend so much time with U? Aren't I and E tired of switching places every time C comes along? Then E reads them the rules of the Alphabet Constitution, which allows them to vote to create a new alphabet in which each letter may choose a new place and role. Czekaj gives his block letters attributes that every alphabet book-savvy child will appreciate: H wears a hardhat and high heels, while Z sports a zipper and has a habit of boring people to sleep ("zzz"). The eclectic design mixes regular typesetting with word balloons and keeps the pace lively with full spreads, inset boxes, and panels. In the end, X is the deciding vote (it's 12 to 12 because A abstained), but when he has a dream about being other letters who have to work much harder than he does, he realizes that his lot isn't so bad after all. So the alphabet as we know it lives on -- at least until the next vote. lolly robinson Copyright 2011 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2011 March)

Gr 1–4—Czekaj weaves spelling lessons throughout this cheeky comic-book-format tale about a disgruntled letter. X is dissatisfied with his place in the alphabet, always at the end and stuck fronting only the words "X-ray" and "xylophone." He riles up the other letters and a vote to change the alphabet, along with its rules, is arranged for the following day. During the night, X dreams of what it would be like to be the other letters and to be responsible for their sometimes-confusing jobs within the English language. Of course, he realizes that he is satisfied with the way things are and breaks a tie vote to maintain the status quo. While the premise isn't immediately inspiring, this tale is surprisingly readable. Czekaj does an admirable job of conveying facts about spelling and grammar during X's dream without drawing too much attention to the educational component. Linguistic jokes abound (W complains, "I'm silent before an R! It's nerve-wracking!"). Visually, the story flows easily through each panel, even where panels appear within panels. The bright but basic line drawings aren't distinguished, but Czekaj continues the wisecracking tone of the text in his art (for example, sleep-inducing Z goes on a rant about how interesting he really is in a speech bubble that runs off the page). This tale won't draw a broad audience, but fans of the format will find a light and satisfying read nonetheless.—Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI

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