Hidden City: Alphabet City

Alphabet CityI'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by the huge stack of books I want to write about on this blog. In order to avoid my usual response, which would be to write nothing at all, I will choose a simple book.

Even though it's simple, it's still great. I've already written about Stephen T. Johnson's City by Numbers, but his Alphabet City is also worth taking a look at.  At least, the Caldecott judges thought so, for they awarded it an Honor Medal.

There are certainly numerous alphabet books out there, so why pick up this one? I suppose one answer would be that it challenges you to see everyday objects as letters: the Brooklyn Bridge is an M, the curve of a railing is a J, and so forth. However, Johnson's illustrations are so extraordinary -- they border on photography -- that  the letter hunt is really a vehicle for exploring beauty in the public urban environment. In fact, I found I was examining the overall composition of the urban objects, rather than actually searching for the letters.

Although, the book is called Alphabet City, most objects will be familiar to non-city kids: lamp posts, leaves on a sidewalk, telephone poles, park benches.  Check it out, you will be inspired to take a look around you.

Want More? 
Take a look at the author's website. He has done some interesting public art projects, including  murals at the Dekalb subway station in Brooklyn and a proposal for the World Trade Center Memorial.

Big Kid says: That must be in the train station.
Little Kid says: A!


Even in Australia said...

One of our favorites. We also like NYC ABC, which has a numerical equivalent too - NYC 123.

Raising a Happy Child said...

Dekalb subway station surely changed since I've been there last (about 10 years ago). The book sounds really interesting. Good to know that you are not going to run out any time soon.

Brimful Curiosities said...

When it gets nicer outside, it would be fun to take a walk and see what letters we can find in everyday objects. I'll have to remember to pick up that letter book this spring.

Marta said...

This book sounds interesting. I'm a new follower of your blog. I'll visit it often! Best regards from Barcelona, Spain,


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