Who would have thought I’d love an A is for Alligator book? Alphabeasts by Wallace Edwards is simply gorgeous, magical; I could get lost in the illustrations.

Edwards takes on a tour of an ornate Victorian mansion, introducing us to all the menagerie that lives there, from the alligator awaking from a dream to the zebra soaking in the bath tub. Along the way, we meet some out of the ordinary animals, like the ibis, a mandrill, a quetzal, even a narwhal. Each of the animals stars in a richly-colored scene filled with tiny details, a portrait that makes me at least wonder what the rest of the story is. Take for example the alligator from the cover. What was he dreaming of, why is he propped in the armchair like that? And I love the cat who stares into the mirror and sees the reflection of a tiger.

I wish I had a picture of the octopus changing the light in to show you. I love how the octopus tentacles are entwined with the chandelier.

I can’t recommend it for the youngest set. We gave it as a gift to my niece, who’s only 1, but I did it knowing full well that at least at this moment, her parents will enjoy it more than she does.  That’s why we tucked a cute stuffed alligator that giggles in the bag too. But parents need books to read out loud to kids that they’ll enjoy too. And this is one I could read over and over, pointing out new things in the illustrations each time.

It’s magnificently absurd, an unusual alphabet book to be sure, but one that I found delightful. Wonder who else I can buy it for?

5 out of 5 stars

Category: Picture book- Alphabet

Published April 1, 2002 by Kids Can Press
32 pages

Purchase from Amazon or an Indie bookstore.

Book source: Purchased