It makes perfect sense that Caspar Babypants, the kindie music favorite whose song titles include My Flea Has Dogs and Stompy the Bear, would create an alphabet book with prose way beyond A is for Apple. But what really makes this picture book a must-have for any beginning reader in your life is the unusual creative collaboration of the author and the popular artist he convinced to create the gorgeous illustrations in Augie to Zebra.
Okay, so maybe it wasn’t that hard to convince the excellent Kate Endle to illustrate the book, considering she and Chris Ballew (aka Caspar Babypants) are a husband-wife team in real life. Kate has designed the Caspar Babypants CD covers for years, and her collage illustrations, with their mix of modern cool quotient and kid-friendly quirkiness, are beyond perfect in Augie to Zebra.
I’m a huge fan of Kate and Chris’s creative collaboration. For kiddos just learning their letters (and grownups who are yawning at run-of-the-mill alphabet books), Augie to Zebra
is a blast. Each letter is showcased in a short sentence, accompanied by whimsical images that really make this book pop. “Ivan Invites the Iguana” incorporates other “I” words into the illustration, like a bottle of ink, ivy, and an invitation. Another fave letter of mine is U: “Umberto Unites Unicorns” in his underwear, while toting an umbrella, balancing on a unicycle, and playing the ukelele. Young and old fans of books like Where’s Waldo?
will find Augie to Zebra irresistible, guaranteed.
(And if you need a hint, a key in the back of the book will give you a hand to make sure you find absolutely everything.)
Bonus: The visual impact of this book means that even pre-readers will have fun shouting out what they see when it’s storytime, or picking up the book on their own just to peruse the illustrations.
One other thing I love about Augie to Zebra
is its refreshing diversity throughout–not only in the skin color of the children illustrated, but also in names like Nalani, Ricardo, and Komiko. Oh, and Augie, of course. -Christina