A Isn't for Fox: An Isn't Alphabet, written by Wendy Ulmer and illustrated by Laura Knorr - review
Here's an ABC book with a new angle: each letter gets two rhyming things that it's "not" for... and an animal that it is. This strategy makes the familiar (ants, zebras) feel fresh, and distracts - in a good way - from the awkward (nuthatch, xenops). Laura Knorr's kicky, detailed paintings exude personality and good humor.
G isn't for mugs; it isn't for bugs.This big fun picture book is perfect to share with a little kid, pointing at the pictures to cue the kid to supply the nouns. The "G" page shows a gecko sitting on a rug drinking from a mug with a bug on it. Between the letter, the repeating framework and the illustrations of each noun, you've got that kid practically reading the whole page. There are very few books that work that way (holla, Ravenous Beast!), and they are to be treasured. Unfortunately, not every page in A Isn't for Fox quite manages the trick:
G is for geckos that hide on the rug.
L isn't for dramas; it isn't for mamas.This page shows llamas having a pillowfight. Hey, I'm sympathetic: how do you illustrate llamas having dramas with their mamas? And not have it be all Lifetime movie-of-the-week? So this one the kid can't help with.
L is for llamas in fuzzy pajamas.
I really respect Laura Knorr's work here: she works in as many of the rhyming words as she can, and her range is spectacular. Yaks and fairies are rendered with equal skill and charm. It's just a shame that the team that produced this book couldn't support that collaborative reading process on every page.