G is for Gertrude

By

Published June 8, 2011

 

 

 

Though publishers originally deemed Gertrude Stein’s To Do: A Book of Alphabets and Birthdays too complex for children, it’s arguable that this whimsical survey of the ABCs, told though Stein’s trademark repetitious and abstract style, was quite simply ahead of its time. Now, more than 70 years after its completion, Yale University Press has released the text with new commissioned artwork by New Yorker illustrator Giselle Potter. From Annie, Arthur, Albert, and a horse named Active, to a French girl called Zed who winds up in a zebra-painted world on her birthday, To Do is more than just a dizzying run through the alphabet. Consider it a concise and playful reader by one of the defining authors of modernist literature.