The Alphabet Room
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The Alphabet Room comes with a sturdy, bright cover and durable card pages. On the left-hand page, we meet the letter (A-apples). The right-hand page contains a 'hinged' door set into the page. On the outside there might be three large apples and, when we open the door, we find a bare room with three little apples on the floor. As we go on through B-bowls, C-cat, D-dog through to, yes, X-xylophone, Y-yarn and Z-zebra, the accumulating contents of the room shift about to accommodate the newly arrived letter. J-jester tends to orchestrate this energetic foolery and it is little surprise that by the time Z-zebra gets into the room most of the other letters have fallen into exhausted slumber and O-owl has flown out of W-window into the night. There's some surreal playfulness for infant eyes to keep track of within the room - the contents of P-painting change from one visit to the next, developing a rather modest narrative involving a horse, a cart, its driver and a small sack of something. The artwork has a stylised childlike quality so that C-cat, D-dog and the rest are two-dimensional. Sadly, the gutter created by the opening hinge is fairly deep, which leaves any image unfortunate enough to find itself on the crack, as it were, in danger of distortion where the two pages do not exactly connect. Perhaps the artist, or the designer, might have taken that into account. Poor O-owl - on his debut appearance at that - peers out of my copy with three eyes and one and a bit heads.