Every family needs an alphabet book. That's a given. Nat Iwata has been doing steampunk art for several years in the video game industry, and now he has illustrated a visually compelling, fun-for-all-ages Steampunk Alphabet book that is approachable both to fans and those unfamiliar with Steampunk. In light of that, while all of the illustrations are total Steampunk, the opening 'letter sentence' for each page is a familiar word. For example "A is for Apple." The idea of taking everyday ordinary things and reimagining them as Steampunk is sure to be a crowd pleaser, and especially appeal to all of the hipster parents. The second part of each page is a description of the object as set in the Steampunk world. This portion will be more enjoyable to older kids and adults to enjoy, while the book could be read entirely with just the 'letter sentences' for younger readers.
- Hardback | 56 pages
- 154.94 x 154.94 x 25.4mm | 453.59g
- 25 Jun 2013
- Cameron & Company Inc
- California, United States
"A" is still for apple in Iwata's first children's book (which began life on Kickstarter), but his is "an apple-shaped music box made to revere/ the Capital's founding of two hundred years." A wood-and-brass apple appears opposite, complete with a keyhole and gears, and 25 alphabetical eccentricities follow, from a steam-powered candle with an light bulb to an mechanical fish outfitted with "surveillance devices." Sidebars in a handwritten font share additional details about the history and workings of Iwata's imagined mechanisms, which will pique imaginations young and old, along with his lovingly detailed images. Ages 2--6. (June) - Publishers Weekly Having just finished China Mieville's Railsea, I was in a steampunk kinda mood when I entered the Horn Book office on Friday morning and, as I passed the "Out of the Box" box, saw Nathanael Iwata's The Steampunk Alphabet (Cameron + Company, June 2013) right at the top of the pile. Perfect. This book is exactly as it sounds: it is a children's steampunk alphabet. Beginning with "A" and moving through to "Z," each letter of the alphabet is equipped with a bold, and colorful illustration of an artifact and an explanation of its use. The alphabet begins quite classically -- "A for apple" -- but the illustration makes it clear that this is no ordinary apple: it appears to be wooden and is covered with dials and gears, has a keyhole, and is emitting a cloud of smoke. The description informs us that the apple is "an apple-shaped music box made to revere/ The Capital's founding of two hundred years" and that the item is "rare, as most of them were lost in the colony wars." The Steampunk Alphabet continues in this vein, depicting one unique steam-powered item after the next (a magnetic nest, an armored umbrella, a mechanical fish), all presumably from a past the reader must decipher from the textual clues. While the linear story that these items relate back to remains a mystery, the imaginative building of that tale can be fantastically fun. Though Iwata has succumbed to the use of verse to make it clear that his work is for children, The Steampunk Alphabet is an enjoyable read. In my opinion, this alphabet book is really for the parent who wants a twist on the "A is for apple" setup. The adult reader can create her own imaginative steampunk past while reading aloud perfectly kid-comprehensible "F is for fish, G is for goggles, H is for helmet" sentences. Overall, an odd, but very cool book. - The Horn Book "B is for Balloon: The Billows Balloon was a sight to be seen It could carry a speaker, a clock or a screen Steam powered thrusters and hot air for lift Would keep it in place instead of adrift." -- from the book
About Nat Iwata
Nat Iwata is a video game artist who lives with his wife and three boys in Vancouver, WA.