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Steve Martin's Wild and Crazy Alphabet Book

Steve Martin, the writer and actor behind movies from <em>The Jerk</em> to <em>Shopgirl</em>, turns to a children's theme in his latest book.
Evan Agostini / Getty Images
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Steve Martin, the writer and actor behind movies from <em>The Jerk</em> to <em>Shopgirl</em>, turns to a children's theme in his latest book.
<em>The Alphabet from A to Y With Bonus Letter Z</em>
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<em>The Alphabet from A to Y With Bonus Letter Z</em>

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.

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