Sunday, March 15, 2009
Stephen T. Johnson
My Rating: 4 out of 5
Genre: Picture Book/Alphabet Book
Johnson's approach to the ABC's is truly imaginative in his book, Alphabet City. Using New York City as his inspiration, he has created a virtual urban alphabet. While some of the letters are clearly identified, there are others that take some careful analyzing to see.
While I enjoyed the artistry of this book, I wouldn't recommend it as a resource for actually teaching the alphabet. This picture book will capture the imaginations of young and old alike, and encourage the reader to see another side to the ordinary things in life. The paintings are so realistic, they appear like photographs. Johnson says, "I hope my paintings will inspire children and adults to look at their surroundings in fresh and playful way. In doing so they will discover for themselves juxtaposition of scale, harmonies of shadows, rhythms, colorful patterns in surface textures, and joy in the most somber aspects of a city, by transcending the mundane and unearthing its hidden beauty." Students of all ages will begin to see that there is art in everything, and in everything in art.