This little ABC book is so wonderful that adults may have trouble sharing it with the babies, toddlers, and growing children in their midst. Every two-page spread contains an alphabet letter and a painting by Roy Lichtenstein, one of the first and most successful of the pop artists. The 26 letters here were each lifted from one of Lichtenstein's prints, drawings, or paintings, and each has a style and a presence all its own, apart from the art on the facing page. Finally, below each member of the alphabet, in comic-book type, are a few words that begin with that letter and refer to objects or ideas pictured in the art on the opposite page. Lichtenstein, who died in 1997, was a witty and subtly classical artist who combined humor and whimsy in his work with an effortless dignity and a broad knowledge of art history. His comics-derived imagery was so crisp and stylish when he first rose to prominence--so now
, as one might have said in the '60s--that viewers were surprised when in the 1980s he began painting monumental images of abstract friezes from ancient temples. This little book is tremendously appealing, showing paintings of water lilies, dogs, a sweet kiss, a "Matisse" still life with goldfish (and a golf ball), a nurse, a cup of coffee, an ice-cream soda, and other recognizable images. Babies and toddlers especially will love to peruse its pages, and art-loving parents everywhere will be enthralled. --Peggy Moorman
Roy Lichtenstein, one of the primary artists of the pop art movement in the 1960s, has revamped the alphabet with his own attitude and style. With his combination of popular imagery and "high art" that borrows the techniques of advertising and the comics, Lichtenstein revivifies the alphabet with playful and entertaining art and refreshes the ABC for art lovers and letter lovers alike. This was the last book the artist completed before his death.