Monday, July 23, 2012
by Keith Baker
green peas provide inspiration in this hilarious, occupation-based romp through the alphabet. Four-inch-high letters on each page serve as an ingenious architectural platform around, above, and inside of which dozens of "pea-ple" swarm in joyful pursuit of myriad types of work. Bouncy, rhyming text introduces the alphabet peas as "acrobats, artists, and astronauts in space, builders, bathers, and bikers in a race," with unpaid "voters and volunteers" receiving their due, too. Baker's inventive details belie the "as alike as two peas in a pod" adage; each and every amusing personalized pea is as unique as a snowflake—and that's the point. The digitally rendered illustrations glow in vibrant, textured colors that boldly leap off the page against a background of ample white space. The sheer fun of the rhythmic text and the large alphabet letters work well for a read-aloud audience, but the busy, engaging details of the peas in their various worker modes are better suited for one-on-one exploration that young children will want to pore over again and again.