Alpha and Omega

March 22, 2008

Since we're "all about the alphabet" here right now, we've run through a number of entertainment items where the author tries to match one animal with each letter of the alphabet. Of course, some letters are more difficult than others. U and X, in particular, don't have many options, and its been amusing to see how different authors deal with this.

Sandra Boynton, for example, just makes things up: U for her is "Uglybirds being Ugly" and X is "Xylo Xylophoning" (a Xylo seems to be a cross between a rhino and a yak). She does, however, use something called a Vicuna for the letter V (unlike everyone else, who uses Vulture), but I don't think she looked at a photo of a Vicuna before she drew her "Vicuna Violinning."

Sesame Street, on the other hand, went with Unicorn for U, but then has Ernie and Elmo engage in a long discussion on how they can't find a real animal that begins with U, so they're using the Unicorn, which is Make-believe, but its still an animal. For X, they introduce us to Xenopus (a kind of frog) and Xenops, which is a south American bird, apparently.

Only Fisher Price (online games) seems to have been able to settle on two real animals for these letters. For X they haul out the X-ray fish, and for U we meet the Urial.

I kind of feel like everyone does the same thing here. They think "Oh, the alphabet with animals, that would be cute" and start commissioning art and whatnot, and then they get to the "tough" letters and are all "Oh! We didn't realize....". Now I desperatly need to find that Eric Carle book, to see what he uses for X and U.

Update: An interesting post about Alphabet books on Daddytypes.