a is for musk ox’s antics

30 DAYS OF PB 2013 aDay 14: a is for musk ox

by Erin Cabatingan, illus. by Matthew Myers

a Neal Porter Book (Roaring Brook Press) 2012.

a is for musk ox coverMust every alphabet book begin with “a is for apple?” Probably not. But would you recommend “a is for musk ox?” Zebra questions the stretch, after expressing frustration over Musk Ox eating his apple, “That doesn’t make sense. Musk ox doesn’t start with A. It doesn’t even have A in it.” Musk Ox’s admits that he is tired of his fairly anonymous placement in the middle. and then he educates Zebra on how musk oxen can be filed under the letter A, and so it begins: in some form or another Musk Ox argues his relevance throughout the whole alphabet.  And Zebra is there to huff or cover his eyes with his hooves, acquiescing under the sheer force of Musk Ox’s personality.


a is for muskox6Some of the applications are a stretch, but there is always an energy and humor in the illustrations. It is equal parts educational and silly. And needless to say, if N were still small(er) we would have tried out our vocabulary and imagination on a Natalya- or Leslie-infused alphabet. I think the alterations of alphabets have already been done, e.g. a is for asphyxiation–which Zebra seems less willing for Musk Ox to experience by the end, except for that ending, when antagonisms are renewed.

entries I favored: I, O, & Q. and when Musk Ox claims that “Baby” is not as cute as musk oxen,” baby musk oxen are seriously one of the cutest babies on the planet!

a is for muskox3

I mentioned the energy in the illustrations, and the pages are just humming with activity (not a bedtime book, unless you need that last burst of energy). The characters are as over-the-top as the notions in the book; which means they are more exciting than ‘just too ridiculous.’ Zebra is cool looking. The exclamation points mimicking his hair and the striped shadow are genius. The tie is pretty funny, too. There is plenty to explore, in the details and the premise.

A is for musk ox inspires a lot of play, certainly some good and healthy old-fashioned rule breaking. You already love Seuss and Silverstein, you’ll want to pick this one up for a play date.

The book trailer:

{images belong to Matthew Myer, see more from this book here.}

Published by L

I read, and I write. and until recently, I sold books.

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