Cover image for An old-fashioned ABC book
An old-fashioned ABC book
Ashton, Elizabeth Allen.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y., U.S.A. : Viking Kestrel, 1990.
Physical Description:
30 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 27 cm
An alphabet book celebrating the art of Jessie Willcox Smith, whose popular illustrations were featured on the covers of "Good Housekeeping" throughout the 1920s and 1930s.
Format :


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

On Order



One fine afternoon, Anansi the Spider sees his friend Turtle walking along the river carrying a large fish. "Where did you get that fish?" he asks. Turtle replies, " I caught it today when I went fishing." Anansi likes to eat fish, but he is much too lazy to catch them for himself. He decides to trick Turtle into catching a fish for him instead.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 3-6. Nostalgia inspired by Smith's illustrations will be the draw in this appropriately titled alphabet book. Ashton supplies occasionally alliterative rhymes to introduce the letters; the verses are mundane for the most part: "G is for Goldfish, so orange and bright. / Kitty jumps at the bowl, so Greg holds on tight." The strengths here are Smith's pictures--affectionate scenes of beguiling children engaged in various activities; they are as likely to engage kids as much today as they did two to three generations past. --Denise Wilms

Publisher's Weekly Review

To parents with treasured early editions of A Child's Garden of Verses or Heidi , Smith's soft, period illustrations will be very familiar. An artist for Good Housekeeping during the 1920s and '30s, Smith depicted children involved in pastimes reminiscent of a simpler era: playing marbles, building sandcastles, learning to sew, lying in a hammock watching the clouds drift by. Ashton provides a sweet, melodic text that is perfectly synchronized with Smith's pictures: ``L is for Luggage packed up for a trip. Laura is all set for her journey by ship.'' Youngsters may miss the pizzazz and punch of more contemporary-feeling alphabet books, but parents and grandparents will find this beautifully designed book a welcome change of pace. Ages 3-8. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 1-- Selections from Jessie Willcox Smith's artwork depicting an idealized childhood circa 1920--1930 have been turned into an alphabet book with a verse for each letter. The full-color drawings are charming and sentimental and the verses--although far from great poetry--reflect the nostalgic mood of the pictures. (``A is for Apple, all shiny and red. Ann picked a whole basket with big brother Ted.'') As a book to help children learn the letters of the alphabet, this has limitations. The initial letters are set in small squares with traditional vine and leaf designs that contribute to the harmonious layout of the pages, but are not clear enough for easy recognition. It's a book more likely to please the large audience of adults who view childhood as a time of innocence. --Ann Stell, The Smithtown Library, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.