A felicitous match of painting and poetry makes an unforgettable introduction to the Greek alphabet in a book that will also appeal to adults. Two-page spreads display paintings by surrealist artist Nikos Engonopoulos (who was also a poet) facing a four-line poem by Haris Vlavianos and a letter. The poems refer to something in the picture that starts with the letter. Alternate spreads illustrate the individual words. Identifying them all takes the reader effortlessly into the alphabet, in the company of striking images by one of Greece’s most influential painters. And there’s lots of ancient and modern lore and mythology to be gleaned along the way. H shows Heracles sawing his way through a plank of wood; M is for the Minotaur slain by Theseus. Other letters lead into the sailors, mermaids, saints, dragons and contemporary telephones and parasols of Engonopoulos’s surreal, idiosyncratic but recognizably Greek world.
(Ithaca Online, www.ekebi.gr)