Whose Alphabet Is This, Anyway? A Is For Musk Ox by Erin Cabatingan
DID YOU EAT THAT APPLE?"
“DON’T LIE! YOUR MOUTH IS FULL OF APPLE! LOOK! YOU’RE DROOLING APPLE JUICE. YOU’RE RUINING MY BOOK!”
Zebra can’t seem to get this alphabet book underway. He’s got a perfectly respectable apple in place for the A word, and some dumb ox eats it. Not only that, Musk Ox demands that page one should read “A Is For Musk Ox.”
“YOU SHOULD THANK ME. I DIDN’T RUIN IT. I SAVED IT!
EVERY OTHER ALPHABET BOOK STARTS WITH A IS FOR APPLE.
Clearly, this is not your father’s alphabet book, as Musk Ox insists that his species deserves being on the A team, being awesome, living in the Arctic, which includes, you know, Alaska.
Zebra reluctantly concedes the point, and unwittingly opens the floodgates to Musk Ox’s self-possessed possession of the entire alphabet. B Is for Baby? Who wants to think about stinky diapers when you can have a beautiful brown and black musk ox? Similarly, clown is out, replaced by a COOL musk ox, and before he knows it, Zebra has lost control of the whole alphabet.
It gets to be more of a stretch coming down the home stretch. M is for Apple? He has to protest.
”WAIT A MINUTE!"
“I FELT KINDA BAD ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE BOOK, WHEN I MUNCHED A MCINTOSH,” EXPLAINS MUSK OX.
Things go from bad to worse as Musk Ox invalidates the “V is for Valentine” and substitutes a “very, VERY cool musk ox," but when at last they reach the letter Z, Zebra feels his time has come. Z Is for Zebra. It’s only fair, right? Musk Ox concurs. And he has just the right picture of Zebra for that slot.
I JUST WANT TO USE THIS PICTURE OF YOU. THREE MONTHS OLD IN DIAPERS.
NOT the ABC book for two-year-olds, but just the one for older primary graders who relish rocking the venerable abecedarius in modern style. In Erin Cabatingan’s A Is for Musk Ox (Roaring Brook, 2012),. it’s A FOR ATTITUDE, as this self-centered musk ox insinuates himself into every spread, and young readers learn more than they ever wanted to know about Arctic oxen. Matthew Myers’ muscularly comic musk ox dominates the day in a slightly mind-expanding (or mind-bending) vocabulary workout. Pair this one with Kelly Bingham’s and Paul Zelinsky’s noted Z Is for Moose [z is for moose] Kelly Bingham, Paul O. Zelinsky (Illustrator) for a wordplaying walk on the wild side through the alphabet.
For a taste of this awesome (and apple-free) alphabet lesson, see the book’s trailer here.