Reviews for Alphabest : The Zany, Zanier, Zaniest Book About Comparatives and Superlatives

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
Adjective comparatives and superlatives from angry, angrier, angriest to zany, zanier, zaniest are presented alongside energetic cartoons of carnival scenes. Some pages require a careful look to discern the connection between word and picture. There's no narrative sequence to this visual feast, but the whole is connected by the alphabetical sequence and patterned word play; teaching tips are appended.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 August #1
An alphabetical romp through an amusement park strives to illuminate comparatives and superlatives. A bumbling klutz of a superhero chases a villain through an amusement park, the text consisting of 25 comparatives and superlatives describing their attacks on each other and the sights, sounds, textures and tastes of the park. ("Unique," appropriately, stands alone.) "Clever" is the superhero following a footprint trail. The villain is "cleverer," slipping onto a Ferris-wheel–like ride. But the superhero is "cleverest," setting the ride to "hyper drive," which sends the dizzy villain flying. The story may take readers a while to catch on to, and not all the comparatives and superlatives make the most sense, or are the best of examples (the "yummy" page is all junk food). Backmatter gives a down-and-dirty version of the rules for forming comparatives and superlatives, but it is not a comprehensive guide; exceptions are not noted, and the rules given will lead to many incorrectly formed words. Whamond's ink-and-watercolor cartoon illustrations are the true stars, his over-the-top scenes carrying the story with lots of humorous details that are sure to have kids chuckling. Expressive body language and facial expressions, especially pop-eyes, make the characters come to life. The imaginative twist at the end makes this more likely to be picked up for a repeat reading, but not necessarily for the grammar lesson. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 September #1

A pint-size superhero and a villain do battle through an amusement park in this alphabetical exploration of comparatives and superlatives. Both opponents suffer slapstick pratfalls as they race around the park: the hero gets covered in eggs, stuffed animal fluff, and green goo--demonstrating "eggy, eggier, eggiest," "fuzzy, fuzzier, fuzziest," and "slimy, slimier, slimiest." While Whamond's illustrations have a strong sense of comedy, the idea of escalation isn't always clear (is laughing at someone else's misfortune really "ruder" than shoving a small girl in the face?). Closing notes offer grammatical tips for creating comparatives and superlatives, though no explanation is given for the lack of such forms for "unique" on the U spread. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 December

K-Gr 2--This attempt to explain comparatives and superlatives is flawed. A cartoon character at a carnival commits a series of rude acts that range from sticking out his tongue to pelting people with eggs and ripping the heads off stuffed-animal prizes. He is pursued by a superhero of sorts who usually ends up as the victim of the villain's bad behavior. Things progress alphabetically, beginning with angry, angrier, and angriest and ending with zany, zanier, and zaniest. In between are questionable choices such as eggy, eggier, and eggiest and jumpy, jumpier, and jumpiest. Only one example is used where more and most are needed for the comparative and superlative. Whamond's frenetic ink and watercolor cartoon illustrations are also confusing. Aside from their distracting busyness, the comparative and superlative are not always distinctly differentiated. Paler and palest appear identical, as do quick, quicker, and quickest. As a teaching tool for exploring this concept, this book falls far short of the mark.--Martha Simpson, Stratford Library Association, CT

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