Kate, a very young kindergartner, came home from school one day and asked, “What’s an ‘elementoe’?” Her mother was a bit confused and said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Kate continued with a child’s sense of desperation, “You know when you’re going over it, over the chalkboard, when you sing that song.” Kate knew that whatever an “elementoe” was, it was important, and she was right!
Many of us learned the alphabet by singing the “ABC Song.” Some of us knew the song so early in our lives that we assume we just always knew the ABCs. Others credit mothers, siblings, and teachers for teaching them the alphabet and have fond memories of not only singing, but playing with alphabet blocks, flash cards, watching Sesame Street, and bringing items for Show and Tell on “letter days” at school.
Once Upon an Alphabet is as ambitious as picture books come. Author and illustrator Oliver Jeffers presents 26 short tales, each based on a different letter of the alphabet. An astronaut who is afraid of heights, a daredevil girl who laughs in the face of death, and a lightning-struck lumberjack are just a few of characters we meet.
Mysteries for the mind and the eye, that's what Chris Van Allsburg creates for his readers. His drawings seem quite still and perhaps a little dull-until you notice the huge snake slithering across the mantelpiece (Jumanji) or the brambles stealthily growing out of a sleeping girl's book in The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.
- Born on December 8, 1940, in Washington, D.C. to L.G. and Eleanor Schneider
- Received a B.A. in art from Smith College in 1963
- Married Tomas Azarian, a musician, that same year
- Mother of three sons—Ethan, Jesse, and Timothy
- Now resides in Plainfield, Vermont
Mary was raised on a small farm in Virginia, yet her life's road would take her into the New England countryside where she would create folk art that celebrates the region's traditional farming culture. She has illustrated more than 50 books and written several of her own, often employing a 19th-century hand press to create her woodcut designs.