The Dangerous Alphabet by Neil Gaiman
I decided to read this because: the little one wanted to read it. I also seem to be on a Neil Gaiman run at the moment. So one more won't hurt.
First line: A is for always, that's where we embark.
I liked: I knew right off that this book was definitely not for the smaller ones. But then Gaiman has a darkness that seems to either be liked or hated, nothing in between. An older child (10 or older) would probably like it as it is funny, clever and gruesome in a Tim Burton kind of way. My 11-year-old liked it though she says that she found it a bit boring.
There are 13 rhyming couplets which tell the story of brother and sister and their pet gazelle. Sneaking past their father, they board a small boat, and the stream takes them into a mysterious underworld adventure where they face all manner of horrors - monsters, trolls and other scary things - to find the treasure.
I didn't like: The storyline isn't that obvious for a small child. Nonetheless, this isn't a way to teach very young ones the alphabet as it is an "incorrect" alphabet to start with (heehee). But hey, this is a modified alphabet so there was some leeway with some of the letters (e.g., W comes before V where "warnings" before "vile deeds").
Verdict: A witty alphabet with wonderfully creepy illustrations that will haunt and delight older readers.