Quilt Alphabet, by Lesa Cline-Ransome
From the front endpapers of Quilt Alphabet:
Each letter has a poem.
Every poem is a clue.
The answers are in back.
And that pretty much says it!
This is an alphabet book of riddle-poems; each letter is highlighted in a painted quilt block; the answer to each riddle is depicted in a larger painting.
Some of the poems are stronger than others—in a book of twenty-six short poems, of course some will be stand-outs, while others will… not.
My favorite is for the letter ‘G’:
An ornamental invitation
To the world within
A welcome with wide-open arms
Invites the outside in
It’s my favorite largely because of “ornamental invitation,” which is a delight to say out loud. (Do it. Doooo itttt, it’s so much fun!) And I’m always a sucker for lines like ‘invites the outside in,’ which is ALSO fun to say out loud purely for the rhythm of it, AND has bonus wordplay.
I think it’s fair to say that in a whole lot of cases, the text alone, without the pictures, would be beyond the understanding of most littles in the audience—and that absolutely goes for the ‘G’ poem I shared above, in which Cline-Ransome is describing a ‘gate’. But for me, the rhythm and rhyme—and the warmth in the words and the pictures, both—make it a pleasure to read overall.
The riddles and images are largely rural subjects and have a very New England-y folk art flavor, with white picket fences and a scarecrow and farmers and autumn leaves and eggs and a wagon and so on. Which makes sense given that the artist and illustrator live in upstate New York.
And I especially love the painting of the owl for ‘O’, but that might be personal, due to our new neighbor, Wowl the Owl. —->
The author/illustrator duo did a counting one, too, so I’m definitely going to request that one from the library to take a look!