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Book Reviews

To Do: A Book of Alphabets and Birthdays

Written in 1940 and now published for the first time with illustrations in a folk-art style, Stein’s fanciful journey through the alphabet features a short story in verse about each letter. The author’s postmodern approach to language predates that movement by decades: “Ivy was Ivy, she was Ivy by name and Ivy by nature and she was born on the 5th of August.” Those who love to be challenged by words should respond avidly to the highly original, repetitive, and sparely punctuated verse that may be read rapidly for heightened effect. A one-of-a-kind book that will remind grown-ups how joyful it can be to put sentences together. All ages.

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