The Dangerous Alphabet & A Dog Came, Too

Here are two short reviews of picture books I've been reading.

A Dog Came, Too by Ainslie Manson. Illustrated by Ann Blades

This picture book is a wonderful telling of Alexander Mackenzie's voyage to find a Northwest Passage through Canada to the Pacific Ocean. He was the first white man to do so and left a message upon a rock which can still be seen today. What makes this picture book unique and so enjoyable for kids is that it is told from a dog's point of view. From Mackenzie's journals we know that a dog was included in his party and Mackenzie's voyage is told here through the eyes of that dog. It is very well done and not anthropomorphic at all. Very enjoyable, gripping text suitable for all ages. I read it aloud to my 8yob as part of our curriculum. Beautiful water colour illustrations by the award winning Ann Blades. 4.5/5

The Dangerous Alphabet by Neil Gaiman. Illustrated by Gris Grimly.

Virtually a poem written in rhyming couplets this alphabetical (A is for...) verse tells the tale of a journey two children take looking for treasure. The poem itself is vague but it is the illustrations which bring the story to life. Extremely detailed with many events happening on each page, one lingers looking deep inside each picture before turning the page. The illustrations add to the text by showing a story of the brother and sister traveling through an ancient sewer-type of environment and the sister gets kidnapped by some ugly looking dudes. The brother then follows them trying to be a hero and rescue his sister. Not recommended as an ABC book for young children as, for one thing, the alphabet is not entirely in order and the author uses creative licence for what the letters stand for such as "Y's your last question", "U are the reader" and "L is, like 'eaven...". Also the pictures are quite creepy with very creepy creatures, skeletons and lots of bones. For the appropriate age it is a fun book with especially fun illustrations. 3/5


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