Apr/May 2002 Book Reviews

Alphabicycle Order

Christopher Reid, poetry; Sara Fanelli, drawings
Ondt & Gracehoper, 42 pages
ISBN: 0 9522370 2 4

reviewed by Ann Skea

Alphabicycle Order is a small and zany book. It is imaginative, whimsical, playful and fun, and both adults and children will enjoy it.

If you are dyslexic or a poor speller, you may be happy to know that a Yatch really exists, and the titles of many of the poems will look quite normal to you. Even if you spell superbly, you should certainly know about the hazards of having Diffodils in your garden (especially if you are a poet), and you will easily recognize the Liarbird's political relatives. My own favourite poem and its illustration is about Gruntparents. Since two of my family were born in the Chinese Year of the Pig, exhortations such as "The sty's the limit" and "Think pig" are going to come in very handy. And do you know what a Zagzig is? Well, unless you have read this book, I can safely say "Your are wrong!" But I'm not going to tell you what it really is.

There's a puzzle for readers, too. Is either of the two insects shown on the title page (an Ondt and a Gracehoper, presumably) Christopher Reid or Sara Fanelli? The grasshopper wears a hat, the ant is missing a few legs, which might be clues, but then again it might just be poetic or artistic license. There's plenty of that in this book and lots of essential information, too. Especially if you need to know about Queen Beans, Rhubarb Bands and Moonotony.


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