The Dangerous Alphabet
Reviewed: June 10, 2009
By: Neil Gaiman / illustrations by Gris Grimly
Publisher: Harper Collins
32 pages, $19.50
Neil Gaiman likes to scribble different types of verse, and even includes them
in his anthologies of short work. The Dangerous Alphabet is that sort of simple
project; rhymed couplets which run the reader though the ABCs while telling
a story. The story follows the macabre adventures of two children as they sail
a bathtub/boat through a series of underground tunnels and caverns.
The action is perhaps more in Gris Grimley’s creepy illustrations than
in the text, but having seen some of Gaiman’s comic book scripts, I imagine
he laid this out in much the same way, describing in general terms what he wanted
to see on the double page spreads and how the story should flow.
There’s a lot to see in this book and it repays several readings. The
alphabet, however, is not reliable, and part of the fun is trying to figure
out just why it isn’t.
This one is for kids, but also for those who ought to be reading to them and