When I Dream Of ABC by Henry Fisher

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When I Dream Of ABC by Henry Fisher

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath
Reviewed by Keith Dudhnath
Summary: A sweet, quirky and delightful alphabet book that improves with every reading. Warmly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 64 Date: August 2010
Publisher: Top That!
ISBN: 978-1849561020

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Apple, ball, cat, dog... yawn... zzz? Not here. When I Dream Of ABC is an alphabet book, sure, but with a playful glint in the eye and delightful illustrations that makes it a joy to read, whether you're learning your alphabet, not ready yet, or already know it backwards and forwards.

It might seem hard to do something fresh and original with the alphabet, but Henry Fisher has managed it wonderfully here. He picks familiar words for each letter, but not the ones that always get picked, so you get angels, giants, honey, robots and vampires. The two-sentence descriptions of each item are brilliant:

Honey is very sweet, and is made by bees, which are not. Never try to eat a bee; always go for the honey.

You'll also be told that clowns only eat popcorn, mermaids love to sing opera, and that most queens eat too much chocolate and have lots of shoes. Each offers up a slightly askew look at the usual reality, not quite surreal, not quite true, not quite a joke, not quite outright silliness, but a perfect mix of each. They're all great ways of thinking about the world, but have a gentleness and warmth to them.

Henry Fisher's illustrations sit beautifully alongside the text, with a unique and quirky style that's hard to define. There are hints of collage, hints of dreamscapes, big, bold characters, and gorgeous textures. As lovely as the front page looks, it doesn't do the rest of the book justice. I particularly love the train page, the spaceman eating spaghetti, and the giant's dangerous hug. Every page is a joy to look at, and gets better each time you read through it. The text alone would be super, the pictures alone would be super, but put the two together and you've got something very special indeed. Highly recommended.

My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.

Kipper's A To Z by Mick Inkpen is another excellent alphabet book, with an engaging story. Older readers will love The Dangerous Alphabet by Neil Gaiman and Gris Grimly.

Buy When I Dream Of ABC by Henry Fisher at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy When I Dream Of ABC by Henry Fisher at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy When I Dream Of ABC by Henry Fisher at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy When I Dream Of ABC by Henry Fisher at Amazon.com.


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