Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Little Alphabet by Trina Schart Hyman

A recent find in my basement: A Little Alphabet book by Trina Schart Hyman, a favorite illustrator from my youth.

It's about 4 by 5.5 inches. Note the cat — one of Trina's favorite subjects — along the top of the cover border.

Each spread displays two letters, illustrated with up to a dozen items that begin with the featured letter:

Dig, dog, dirt, dragonfly, daffodil, dandelion, daisies, dungarees. And egg, eat, elbow, Easter basket, eye, eggcup, ear, eyebrow, evening primrose.

I appreciated the inclusion of black kids throughout:

The book was published in 1980... which may have been the high-water mark for inclusivity in children's books, sadly. (Lily, lick, lollipop, lace, lips, lantern, lime, lizard, ladybug, lemon, lean, leaf, lashes... moon, mist, mask, mouth, mushrooms, mouse, moth, milkweed, marsh, mosquito.)

Bees, beehive, boy, bird, berries, basket, barefoot, buckle, brow, brambles and clouds, cricket, cape, curls, checks, cake, candle, crocus, cat, cage, canary, collar, cheek.

I especially love the composition around the letter P, with a porcupine just above the head of the child. Plus pine trees, pine cone, paddle, pineapple, percolator, pack, plaid, pie, pan, pear, plum, perch, pond, peaks and the adjacent queen, quince, quilt, Queen Anne's lace.

The pictures include lots of plants. This was partly an opportunity to pack in more alphabetical goodies, but I like to think it also reflected Trina's love of botanical illustration.

No comments: