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A Prairie Alphabet


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In this superlative book, Moore's impressive artwork brings the lifestyle of Canadian plains residents into crystal-clear focus. Twenty-six paintings reveal children, adults and animals working and playing--and observing the natural beauty of their rural homeland. On each page, a single sentence, consisting of words that begin with the featured letter, describes a scenario: ``We auction our Aberdeen Angus at Agribition''; ``A mouse munches a meal of millet by moonlight.'' Moore's intricate, realistic style--calling to mind a cross between Andrew Wyeth and Norman Rockwell--lets readers appreciate details usually found only in a photograph: the uneven grain of wood on the side of a barn; delicate embroidery on a dish towel; and subtle cloud patterns in a winter sky. At the end of the volume are listed objects in each picture that begin with the featured letter, which will inspire youngsters to flip through these engaging pages once again. Bannatyne-Cugnet's (somewhat pricey) first book also includes explanations of each practice or custom depicted. All ages. (Oct.)

K-Gr 8-- An alphabet book to be enjoyed by those who live on the Canadian prairies or the U. S. plains. Moore's artwork is delightful. Through a realistic style reminiscent of William Kurelek's, she re-creates the rhythms of day-to-day rural life in minutely detailed paintings. The way in which she captures wildlife and livestock and the changing seasons and skies is particularly noteworthy. In contrast, Bannatyne-Cugnet's alliterative text is lame and labored. She seems to have struggled to find words beginning with the appropriate letters, and to place them in comprehensible sentences. By far the weakest part of the book is the list of words for objects that appear in the illustrations and that begin with the given letter. Suggestions range from the expected (``ducks'' for the letter ``D'') to the nearly incomprehensible (``university shirt'' for the letter ``U'' and ``foot mark'' for the letter ``M''). Explanations for each of the scenes follow; information about living and farming in this region is explained in clear prose. These tidbits are interesting and useful to researchers in the higher grades. --Lucinda Lockwood, Thomas Haney Secondary School, Maple Ridge, BC

"Superlative....Moore's intricate, realistic style - calling to mind a cross between Andrew Wyeth and Norman Rockwell - lets readers appreciate details usually found only in a photograph."
-Publisher's Weekly (starred review)

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