The Disappearing Alphabet by Richard Wilbur

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Synopsis

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Richard Wilbur turns his sharp eye to the noble alphabet and imagines what life would be like without these twenty-six little--but powerful--letters. Packed with humor and witty subtleties, the verse in this captivating picture book is splendidly matched by Caldecott Medal winner David Diaz's hilariously clever illustrations.
 

About Richard Wilbur

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When Richard Wilbur's Things of This World (1956) won the 1957 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award the same year, the N.Y. Times commented editorially: "A seemingly effortless craftsman, Mr. Wilbur reveals a fine lyrical gift, a searching wit and, in his translations, a sympathetic kinship to the works of others." Wilbur was born in New York City and educated at Amherst College and Harvard University. During the late 1950s he taught at Wesleyan University. He has also been on the English faculty at Harvard and Wellesley College, and he is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Institute of Arts and Letters. With Lillian Hellman he wrote the libretto for the opera Candide. He also is one of the premier translators of his generation. He has translated Moliere's Tartuffe and Misanthrope and many poems of Andrei Voznesensky and others. Co-recipient of the Bollingen Translation Prize in 1963, he was made the second Poet Laureate of the United States in 1987. David Diaz has illustrated numerous award-winning books for children, including Smoky Night by Eve Bunting, for which he was awarded the Caldecott Medal; The Wanderer by Sharon Creech, which received a Newbery Honor; and Diego: Bigger Than Life by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, a Pura Belprща Honor Award winner. An illustrator and graphic designer for more than twenty-five years, he is also a painter and an accomplished ceramic artist. Mr. Diaz lives in Carlsbad, California.
 
Published September 1, 1998 by HMH Books for Young Readers. 32 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Disappearing Alphabet

Kirkus Reviews

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The possibilities are droll, and his thoughts puckish, e.g., if the letter B, “were absent, say, from BAT and BALL,/There’d be not big or little leagues AT ALL,” and “At breakfast time, the useful letter T/Preserves us all from eating SHREDDED WHEA.” Diaz’s computer-generated illustrations are a ...

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Publishers Weekly

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If the alphabet started to disappear, as the premise of this inventively witty book sets up, then the world as we know it would, too. Wilbur (Opposites), a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, starts at the b

Aug 31 1998 | Read Full Review of The Disappearing Alphabet

Publishers Weekly

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In a starred review, PW wrote, "Wilbur starts at the beginning and imagines what life would be like without each of the 26 letters.

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Publishers Weekly

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Wilbur (Opposites), a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, starts at the beginning and imagines what life would be like without each of the 26 letters: ""If [B] were absent, say, from BAT and BALL,/ There'd be no big or little leagues AT ALL."" In addition to pondering words without particular letters, W...

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