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Commissioned by Glasgow publisher Blackie & Son, it contains a short description and a full-page grisaille drawing for each animal, beginning with A for armadillo and ending with Z for zebra, with vignettes accompanying each letter. It was the first publication by Carton Moore Park, who specialized in animal subjects, and whose artistic style was strongly influenced by Japonisme.
The quirky drawings, with modern-looking crops and close-up perspective, made the book stand out from all other alphabets of the day. The plate of the hippopotamus, for example, conveys the great bulk of the animal by forcing it up against the frame, while the image of the bat has the creature flying almost in the reader’s face.