Cover image for A is for salad
A is for salad
Lester, Mike.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Putnam & Grosset, 2000.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 18 x 26 cm
Each letter of the alphabet is presented in an unusual way, such as: "A is for salad" showing an alligator eating a bowl of greens.
Reading Level:
BR Lexile.
Program Information:
Reading Counts RC K-2 1.8 1 Quiz: 27460 Guided reading level: D.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction A-B-C- 1-2-3 Books

On Order



A is for apple, B is for ball, C is for cat'but not in this wacky alphabet book! In author/artist Mike Lester's slightly warped world, A is for salad, B is for Viking, and C is for hot dog. What's that all about, you may ask? It's a fun way for kids to learn as they figure out what each alphabet letter actually stands for. A is for alligator, shown on the page eating a healthy salad. B is for beaver, wearing a very handsome Viking helmet. C is for cat, pictured munching on a foot-long hot dog.With intricate wood-cut-like illustrations, this irreverent look at the alphabet is sure to appeal to people of all ages--anyone with a sense of fun.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 1^-4. You could call this a fractured alphabet book. Lester does with the ABC primer what Scieszka does with fairy tales: he makes parody into a hilarious farce that both mocks the original and creates its own wonderful silliness. Each wicked picture, in bright acrylics with thick, black lines, is an animal scenario that tells an outlandish story. "L is for hair dryer," with the picture showing a lion blowing his mane with an electric dryer. "D is for remote control," with the picture showing a bespectacled duck in an easy chair trying to change channels. "T is for polka-dotted underpants," as pictured on a smirking tiger enjoying how he looks. X and Y "are not important letters. Never use them," declares the text as the artwork shows them being carted away by garbage collectors. "Z is for The End," as pictured in a view of a zebra from behind. Small, labeled pictures on the endpapers explain that "A is also for alligator, B is also for bear," etc. Of course, this isn't for very young children just learning their letters, but it isn't cute, condescending stuff aimed at adults either. It's for grade-schoolers who will get the jokes and love the irreverent nonsense. --Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Lester (Really, Really, Really Bad Jokes) stands ceremony on its ear in this deviant abecedarian picture book, aimed at an audience who already has a firm grasp of their ABCs. As he breezes through the letters of the alphabet (well, most of them--"X and Y are not important letters. Never use them" he notes dryly), Lester dreams up a series of flagrantly flawed definitions, which he promptly undercuts with his illustrations. "A is for salad," for instance, shows an alligator eating a bowl of greens, and Lester tosses in a throwaway line after every few letters ("H is for pizza... I think"), adding to irreverent readers' glee. His full-color woodcuts of animal characters that seem to mug for readers' benefit often contribute to the wit, as in "G is for soccer," which shows a goat butting a soccer ball. But a few may be difficult to discern (e.g., "J is for hats" spotlights jellyfish whose identities are somewhat camouflaged by their chapeaux), and one illustration works against the conceit he's set up: in the vignette for "I can't figure out what Q is for. Can you?" all signs ("Look! It's a Quail!") point to the tiny, startled bird itself. The literal-minded will be happy to note that the animals reappear on the endpapers, along with their rudimentary labels ("K is also for kangaroo" and so on). A fun cavort through the 26 letters. All ages. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 1-Lester presents each letter of the alphabet through a cartoonlike animal that actually begins with that letter, accompanied by totally unrelated text. For example, "A is for salad" has an alligator munching on a bowl of greens, "L is for hair dryer" has a lion blowing out his mane, etc. The back endpapers provide the correct correlation ("A is also for alligator"). Children just learning their letters will not benefit from this type of confusion, and the book provides little substance for older readers whose sense of humor has progressed past the tiger-in-underwear stage. Some of the examples are simply pointless, such as "X and Y are not important letters. Never use them." This spread depicts two garbage men carting the letters off to their truck. Many unique and interesting alphabet books are available such as George Shannon's Tomorrow's Alphabet (Morrow, 1998) or Stephen T. Johnson's Alphabet City (Viking, 1995). Pass on this one.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.