By Alethea Kontis
Illustrated by Bob Kolar
Candlewick Press, 2010
$15.99, ages 4-8, 40 pages
A bumbling troupe of letters jockeys for parts in a Halloween play in this adorable encore to the best-seller Alpha Oops!
As the troupe prepares for their big Halloween show, a drowsy "A" insists that "H" go first on stage for "Halloween," once again mixing up letters A-Z.
"Z," who promoted himself up the alphabet in Alpha Oops!, asserts himself once again. As soon as "H" is done with his act, "Z" shuffles forward with red eyes for "Zombie."
Just below him on the page, "N" quakes in his bed from a "Nightmare," as a spider with googly eyes dangles nearby, and what's that on the opposite page?
Don't look now, "K's" jumped into the ocean in a floatie to be a "Kraken" and "P" the "Pirate" is lashing at him from his ship.
But wait, that's not fair. "P" has commandeered "B's" role as raider of the high seas!
That was my costume, "B" the "Buccaneer" complains in his seafaring hat and peg leg, his mouth agape at the injustice of it all.
But down in the lower corner of the next page, "Z" steps forward and scolds "B." "Buck up!" he yells, acting like he's first in the alphabet, before telling "B" to find another costume.
Poor "B." It's a letter-eat-letter world. Even after "G" sprouts horns for "Goblin," "V" flutters out of a coffin for "Vampire" and "R" gets carried away by a "Raven," "B's" still stumped over what to be.
And what's this coming after "R"? Not "V" is for "Vampire" again? (Oh, I see, "E" was so excited by "V's" vampire act, he just called, "E" for "Encore." )
Backstage "B" isn't the only one with acting challenges.
"X" is feel pretty uninspired, but hey, "S" has an idea. Maybe "X" and "S" could do a duet -- "X" for "X-ray", "S" for "Skeleton"?
Pumpkin's also having a tough time. You see, this year "J" decided to stand for "Jitters" instead of "Jack-0-Lantern," so poor pumpkin's been cut from the act.
But that's show business, "P" says, patting him on his back. "J can't pick you every time."
By the next page, feeling seem patched up and acts are rolling along. Soon even L has found his costume, a "Lycanthrope." ( A fancy word for werewolf, W whispers to A.)
But how will "B" ever find a costume good enough for the final number?
Lively and fun, this clever followup will have little readers calling out to letters, "No, silly, that's not where you go!," -- and parents acting thrilled that none of the letters thought to rehearse.
Along the bottom of every two-page spread, an orange cube in a graduation cap and gown hurries back and forth across the fold, putting letters back in alphabetical order as each announces who it's going to be.