Publishers Weekly Reviews

Mechanical sounds and onomatopoeia, from ahoogah to zap, emanate from this "noisy alphabet." Various robots toil on or near enormous letters in a grassy field, against an empty white sky. One automaton shelters from the "clang clink crash clank" of showering metal C's, another uses an electric "jolt" on a giant J, and one stands near an oversize R to play "ratatattat" on a snare drum. Watkins's (Literally Disturbed) robot caricatures feature antlike faces, toothy smiles, and sundry wheels or appliances attached to their jointed or telescoping limbs. Depending on the slapstick moment, such as hoisting a W with a helicopter's "whirr" or emitting a flatulent "meep," the bots wear cheesy grins or woe-is-me hangdog expressions. Noises aside, though, Watkins doesn't explore the letters in a significant way. The riveted, finished letters serve as backdrops rather than purposeful props, with attention squarely focused on the robots' antics. A few alphabet-themed items appear here and there (a rose, an umbrella) but largely come across as tacked on. Ages 3–5. Agent: Joanna Volpe, New Leaf Literary & Media. (July)

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School Library Journal Reviews

PreS-Gr 1—Various robots are cleverly depicted in colorful drawings that will capture the imaginations of young children in read-aloud or lap-sit settings. Complementing the clear bright, white sky and pleasing green lawn, which serve as a continuous background, is a crew of goofy robots in mostly angular shapes that present the 26 letters of the alphabet. Harmonious, vivid colors show them busy in their many activities as they build the letters with an assortment of tools and devices. There are several somewhat unusual and perhaps questionable words selected to represent the letters. For example, M is accompanied by the word "meep," and the art shows an embarrassed robot passing gas. For "N is for neigh," a robot is riding a robotic steed. The pictures exhibit careful attention to detail, giving children much to talk about, and they'll enjoy the creative alliteration and onomatopoeia. A spread with the complete alphabet follows the letter Z, with the gleeful robots admiring their work. All things considered, the sometimes weak text is heartily supplemented by the zany pictures.—Ellie Lease, Harford County Public Library, MD

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