Steve Martin's Wild and Crazy Alphabet Book With characters like Maniacal Marvin and Henrietta the hare, writer and actor Steve Martin joins with New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast in a new book that turns the alphabet upside down and sideways.
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Steve Martin's Wild and Crazy Alphabet Book

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Steve Martin's Wild and Crazy Alphabet Book

Steve Martin's Wild and Crazy Alphabet Book

Steve Martin's Wild and Crazy Alphabet Book

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Listen: Steve Martin Tells Steve Inskeep About the Letter X

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Steve Martin, the writer and actor behind movies from The Jerk to Shopgirl, turns to a children's theme in his latest book. Evan Agostini/Getty Images hide caption

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Evan Agostini/Getty Images

Steve Martin, the writer and actor behind movies from The Jerk to Shopgirl, turns to a children's theme in his latest book.

Evan Agostini/Getty Images

Book Excerpts

The Alphabet from A to Y With Bonus Letter Z hide caption

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Roz Chast, a cartoonist for The New Yorker, joins Martin in the alphabetical mayhem. As a kid, Chast remembers reading The Cat in the Hat — but Dick and Jane were considered too low-brow in her house. Fred Collins hide caption

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Fred Collins

Roz Chast, a cartoonist for The New Yorker, joins Martin in the alphabetical mayhem. As a kid, Chast remembers reading The Cat in the Hat — but Dick and Jane were considered too low-brow in her house.

Fred Collins
Copyright 2007 by Steve Martin and Roz Chast
The letter Q

Q: Quincy the kumquat queried the queen
Cleverly, quietly, without being seen.

Copyright 2007 by Steve Martin and Roz Chast

X: Ambidextrous Alex was actually axed
For waxing, then faxing, his boss's new slacks. Copyright 2007 by Steve Martin and Roz Chast hide caption

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Copyright 2007 by Steve Martin and Roz Chast

X: Ambidextrous Alex was actually axed
For waxing, then faxing, his boss's new slacks.

Copyright 2007 by Steve Martin and Roz Chast

M: Maniacal Marvin munched many a macaroon,
Making his middle a mini hot air balloon. Copyright 2007 by Steve Martin and Roz Chast hide caption

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Copyright 2007 by Steve Martin and Roz Chast

M: Maniacal Marvin munched many a macaroon,
Making his middle a mini hot air balloon.

Copyright 2007 by Steve Martin and Roz Chast

In writing a new children's alphabet book, Steve Martin may have been trying to make up for something missing in his childhood.

"I don't think I actually had any children's books as a kid," the actor and writer says, half-jokingly. No Go, Dog. Go! for him.

But Martin did read The Prince and the Pauper. "I was very proud of that because it was very thick," he tells Steve Inskeep.

Martin's new book, drawn by New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast, is called The Alphabet from A to Y With Bonus Letter Z.

"I just had this idea to write these crazy, rhyming couplets and then asked Roz to illustrate them as faithfully as possible," Martin says.

Chast says that when they went through the alphabet, "it was fun to kind of pick out interesting words that went along with each letter." So, when they considered the letter U, for example, ukuleles came to mind.

And yes, there is an educational element amid all the fun, Martin says.

"I tried to put in words ... that sound like the letter but aren't the letter and also use different expressions of the letter," Martin says.

Like the couplet for the letter Q:

Quincy the kumquat queried the queen
Cleverly, quietly, without being seen.

Books Featured In This Story

The Alphabet from A to Y with Bonus Letter Z!

by Steve Martin and Roz Chast

Hardcover, 1 v. (unpaged) |

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The Alphabet from A to Y with Bonus Letter Z!
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