If Rocks Could Sing : A Discovered Alphabet
by McGuirk, Leslie

A nature-inspired alphabet book features unique rocks found on a stretch of beach by the author's home that are presented in the shapes of letters, numbers and alphabetical figures. By the author of Pip the Penguin.

LESLIE MCGUIRK says that when she was a child she wanted to be a game warden in Africa. Instead, she grew up to become an author and illustrator whose favorite topic is the animals she loves so much.
Leslie is the author-illustrator of many children's books, including the Tucker the Dog books, Pip the Penguin, and Wiggens Learns His Manners at the Four Seasons.

A writer/illustrator of picture books, McGuirk knew she was on to something when she strolled along the Florida seashore, picked up interesting rocks, and found several that resembled letters. Determined to collect the whole alphabet, she waited more than 10 years to find the letters that provide the framework for this creative alphabet book. Each appears on a page along with another rock or rocks illustrating a sentence, such as "b is for bird," which shows a birdlike stone sitting beside an egg in a nest. Although some rocks need no visual context, such as the remarkable elephant head photographed for "e is for elephant," others, such as the rock illustrating "m is for mitten," are definitely stronger for association with photographed objects, such as the knitted mitten shown beside the stone one. With clean page design, restrained use of color, and minimal text, this intriguing book showcases the rocks themselves and may inspire children to discover their own found art. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

With sharp eyes, endless patience and vivid imagination, McGuirk seeks and finds rocks in the shapes of alphabet letters and items representing those letters.

Using these finds and some inventive photography, she has created a most unusual alphabet book. The opening spread lays out all the amazingly accurate stone letters (some uppercase, some lowercase) on a background of soft, natural, earthy beige. Each letter is given its own page, and some have a double-page spread. The letter-shaped rock names the shape—as in "e is for elephant"—and the remarkable rock shapes either stand alone or are given props. The "ghost" rocks float eerily on a black background, while "K is for kick" aims a foot-shaped rock at a bright-orange ball. The seahorse floats among seaweed, and a rock mitten is paired with one made of wool. Some of the more conceptual references stretch the imagination a bit, and little ones may need some explanation. For "U is for up," two animal-shaped rocks play on a seesaw; too bad there was no umbrella or unicorn rock to be found. The ever-difficult "x" is the only disappointment; "x is for xoxo" depicts a pudgy figure that kind of resembles two people kissing, but this may be a stretch for children. An author's note provides additional information about McGuirk's dedicated collection process.

Begs to be pored over again and again. (Alphabet book. 3-10)

Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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