Bruno Munari's ABC (Anglais) Relié – 16 mars 2006
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Your first image in this book is of a luscious orange/red apple sitting in a white space. On its stem crawls a realistically rendered black ant with the only words on the page, "an Ant on an Apple". Then you turn the page to a full double spread of a brilliant Blue Butterfly. It's a deep royal blue, but of a shade that brings to mind deep pockets of the ocean and long shadows late in the day. Munari uses watercolors to their fullest in this book. A careful reading through each page displays objects on white with simple words and recognizable objects. To my mind, the only object here that struck me as a little out of date was the rendering of an old rotary-dial telephone. And in any case I sincerely doubt that your kids will find it unrecognizable. Munari has also included in this book a small fly that breaks out of its own F page to buzz into other interesting shots. There is a mild understated commentary that remarks on this. When, for example, the fly alights on a pink ribboned hat that may soon be crushed by a hammer, the commentary gasps, "look out, fly!".
It's the range of colors in this book that really let it stand out though. Whether you're viewing a purple violin, the pink flesh of a watermelon, the brown of an owl, or the green of a leaf, the book is a visual cacophony of shades and images. There's something about Munari's sparse style that continues to appeal, even to this day. If you want alphabet books that blow you away with their wit and wonder, they exist I assure you. There are probably tons of them out there that seek to impress far more than this creation. But if you want something classic and classy that teaches the alphabet without distracting or obliterating its original message (which is to say, teaching the alphabet in the first place) then "Bruno Munari's ABC" should be a first choice.