There's a Monster in the Alphabet by James Rumford

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According to Herodotus, an Ancient Greek historian, a Phoenician named Cadmus brought the alphabet to Greece. In the ancient myths, Cadmus was a hero who fought a ferocious monster and founded the city of Thebes. Cadmus was so famous that his deeds were told and retold throughout the ancient world.

In this modern retelling, James Rumford uses the alphabet that Cadmus brought to Greece to recount the hero’s own story. Part truth, part fancy, this different kind of alphabet book takes its reader on a journey to the distant past, when our letters were not just marks to record sounds but were pictures of eyes and hands, doors and fences, giant teeth and . . . monsters.

About James Rumford

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Master storyteller James Rumford combines his love for art and history in his picture books. Each of his books is vastly different in its content, design, and illustrations but one aspect remains constant throughout his work: his passion about his subjects. Rumford, a resident of Hawaii, has studied more than a dozen languages and worked in the Peace Corps, where he traveled to Africa, Asia, and Afghanistan. He draws from these experiences and the history of his subject when he is working on a book. His book Sequoyah: The Cherokee Man Who Gave His People Writing was a 2005 Sibert Honor winner.
Published September 30, 2002 by HMH Books for Young Readers. 40 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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As demonstrated by a concluding chart of the transformation of the alphabet from Egyptian pictograms through Phoenician and Greek letters to the Roman characters, there is frequently little resemblance between the modern character and the object it originally represented.

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Publishers Weekly

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For older readers, the myth of Cadmus (reputed to have brought the alphabet to Greece) is reimagined in There's a Monster in the Alphabet by James Rumford.

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