cover image The Sleepy Little Alphabet: A Bedtime Story from Alphabet Town

The Sleepy Little Alphabet: A Bedtime Story from Alphabet Town

Judy Sierra, , illus. by Melissa Sweet. . Knopf, $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-375-84002-9

Sierra and Sweet (Schoolyard Rhymes ) collaborate on an alphabet rhyme about rambunctious lower-case letters who won't go to bed (“h tries standing on her head./ i and j jump on the bed”). Bookstore shelves may be crowded with abecedarian offerings, but the bounce of Sierra's meter, the time-for-bed theme and Sweet's offhand pencil and watercolor drawings make the story feel fresh. Throughout, Sierra inserts vocabulary items that incorporate the letters (“u takes off his underwear”) while Sweet provides the laughs (u's gleeful bucktoothed grin as he tosses a pair of outsize polka-dot bloomers in the air). The adults are pictured as capital letters, as they attempt to shepherd their children through their nightly routines. Sweet fills each room with alphabetically appropriate accessories: the X and Y family has a framed yo-yo championship award, while the Ts have a telephone, a tortoise and a tea set. Textiles, loose-leaf binder paper and newsprint are used judiciously for visual interest, while the letters' goggle eyes, toothy smiles and emotive expressions all spell F-U-N. Ages 2–6. (June)