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The dangerous alphabet
Neil Gaiman
Children's Fiction GAIMAN

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Acrawl with evildoers, Gaiman's (The Wolves in the Walls) rhyming abecedary charts the perils of two children and their limpid-eyed pet gazelle. With the words "A is for Always, that's where we embark;/ B is for Boat, pushing off in the dark," the stern-faced Victorian boy and girl clamber into a bathtub-shaped boat and sail into the bowels of a Dickensian sewer system. An oily brown map suggests a treasure hunt, and the seekers must evade subhuman monsters. Darting past stone-walled quays and rusty pipes ("F is for Fear"), they see unluckier children held in cages and soup pots by freakish octopi and bristling goblins ("H is for `Help me!' "). When the girl is kidnapped by a fleshy ogre, the boy and gazelle brave a Sweeney Todd meat-pie operation ("O is for Ovens, far under the street") and ghoulish Pirates to save her. Grimly (the Wicked Nursery Rhymes volumes) pictures the trio's gruesome ordeal in butcher-shop hues of meaty pink and fatty beige. With Lemony Snicket as a reference point, young goths might eat this up. All the same, Gaiman and Grimly frequently sacrifice humor to fetishize the grotesque; adults might like this best. Ages 5-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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