Arthur Geisert's unique and exquisite etchings have been widely praised and exhibited at the Chicago Institute of Art, among other museums. His work is regularly selected for the Society of Illustrators', annual Original Art exhibition, and his illustrations are now being collected by the Dubuque Museum of Art. He lives in a converted bank in Bernard, Iowa.
Pigs from A to Z updates the traditional alphabet book in a potentially useful way. Rather than the usual presentation of a picture illustrating each letter, Arthur Geisert (Pa's Balloon and Other Pig Tales offers intricate etchings depicting pigs engaged in assorted pursuits. In each picture, several examples of the letter are cunningly hidden among the whorls of artwork. This gives readers the opportunity to interact with the bookto actually learn about the letter's shape by looking for it. The black-and-gray tones add to this book's eccentric appeal; the clever doings are humorously underplayed by the text's dry wit. (All ages)
Pigs from A to Z does not contain merely the alphabet . . . The graphically pleasing and very clever book may fascinate even those well beyond the picture-book age. Horn Book
Pigs from A to Z does not contain merely the alphabet . . . The graphically pleasing and very clever book may fascinate even those well beyond the picture-book age. Horn Book Guide
K-Gr 3 Children are asked to find letters hidden within a myriad of details in large etchings. Each page is supposed to contain five forms of the featured letter, one each of the letters that precede and follow that letter in the alphabet, and seven pigs (although the A page contains eight pigs and six A 's for no apparent reason). The hidden letters are in a variety in sizes; some are large and obvious while others are so small that it's often not clear whether it's one of the hidden letters or simply a detail in the drawing. One or two lines of text accompanying the drawings tell the ``story'' of the piglets' building of an elaborate treehouse. The minimal script adds nothing to the book but a flat and occasionally condescending explanation of the illustrations. The relationship of text to the featured letter is tenuous at best and seems tacked-on. While some pages of text manage to repeat the featured letter several times, others have to stretch for a single connection to the illustration. The book is curiously lacking in appeal; the extensive cross hatching of the etchings, which are on an ivory background, give the book a muddy, almost antique look. The pigs are stiff and crudely drawn, with no real individuality or personality, and are often awkwardly posed for the sake of the letters they illustrate. The book is too difficult for young children just learning the alphabet, and older children will be better served by the color, graphic quality, and sheer wit of similar books by Anno and Demi. Eleanor K. MacDonald, Palos Verdes Library District, Calif.