The Z Was Zapped: A Play in Twenty-Six Acts

The Z Was Zapped: A Play in Twenty-Six Acts

by Chris Van Allsburg


$18.22 $18.95 Save 4% Current price is $18.22, Original price is $18.95. You Save 4%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Thursday, July 25


A dramatic black- and- white presentation of the alphabet in which the three-time Caldecott medalist depicts a mysterious transformation of each letter.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780395446126
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 10/26/1987
Pages: 56
Sales rank: 80,273
Product dimensions: 9.00(w) x 12.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile: BR (what's this?)
Age Range: 4 - 7 Years

About the Author

Chris Van Allsburg is the winner of two Caldecott Medals, for Jumanji and The Polar Express, as well as the recipient of a Caldecott Honor Book for The Garden of Abdul Gasazi. The author and illustrator of numerous picture books for children, he has also been awarded the Regina Medal for lifetime achievement in children’s literature. In 1982, Jumanji was nominated for a National Book Award and in 1996, it was made into a popular feature film. Chris Van Allsburg is a former instructor at the Rhode Island School of Design. Visit him at 


Providence, Rhode Island

Date of Birth:

June 18, 1949

Place of Birth:

Grand Rapids, Michigan


University of Michigan College of Architecture & Design, 1972; Rhode Island School of Design, MFA, 1975

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Z Was Zapped 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
helenpeynado on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Chris Van Allsburg's art is just genius. Then you add his wit and you have a brilliant book. I really enjoyed this "theatrical" piece. And who knew you could draw anything this amazing with a pencil?!?
cmesa1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book takes the reader through the alphabet theater. It shows the reader 26 acts always starting with the illustrations. Which they enhance the text and give the reader a clue of what will happen to each letter. The author chooses the word very carefully to match them with the letter that we were reading. For example "The E was slowly evaporating, The P was repeatedly Pecked, The T was all Tied up.
SarahAZ on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love this book. It's so creative and original. Although it's a good alphabet book for kids to learn from, it's also a book that appeals for an older audience. I enjoyed the guessing game element, where one letter "preformed" on stage and we were to guess the action that starts with the same letter, and the answer would be "backstage" when you flip the page over. The illustrations definitely revealed the author's interest and talent in sculpture work as well.
alebarbu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Van Allsburg, C. (1987). The Z was zapped. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co. This alphabet book is definitely not a typical alphabet book. It is set up as a play in 26 acts where each letter has its own act during which some kind of catastrophe (even torture) happens to it. Each letter is portrayed on a stage, on the front of a page, and the corresponding short text is on the back of the page. In my opinion, this is a problem because a reader sees the text for a letter on the left page while seeing the next letter on the right page, so there is always a mismatch between text and letters. Each short text contains alliterations of the letter it is describing. For example, the text for ¿p¿ states that ¿The P was repeatedly Pecked.¿ These alliterations contribute to a nice rhythm effect. The illustrations are all black and white, made with some kind of graphite-based medium, which makes them look like they should be in an art museum more than in an alphabet book. This book is very interesting visually, but the subject-matter is quite dark, and I am not sure that it would be appropriate for younger children even if the alliterations make it useful for a phonics-based lesson. Still, in my opinion, the colorfulness and quirkiness of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom are more appropriate for younger audiences. I think this book (especially the illustrations) would be better appreciated by kids in older elementary grades (Gr. 3-6), even though they do not need to learn their alphabet at that point anymore.
cvyork on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Yes, you can guess what verb the letter is going to represent as you move through the alphabet, but none are predictable. Some of the verbs for the letters actually do not make any sense. Sorry Chris, I have one more of your books to read and this wasn't may be my least favorite. I do not think that it would be a good book for younger kids either.
justineaylward on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great charcoal drawings. I like too how the image is first then the description. The acts at the top of the page also allow for counting.
tehanu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I absolutely adored this book and used to read it to my daughter; she told me many years later how it scared her! Oops, didn't think of that. Just a heads-up to parents of small children, sometimes you never know what's going on in those little heads.
kcbartlett on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a very good book to use with older kids. It is a alphabet book guessing book, but it is for older kids. Harder vocabulary. My fourth and fifth graders love it.
Brooke28 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great illustrations... Would we expect anything less from Chris Van Allsburg! Each letter has something happen to it.
rileykoch on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A wonderful alphabet drama pictured in 26 acts.
bamabreezin4 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book does an interesting job of teaching letters with initial sounds, which is great for any beginner phonics lesson. The picture support is also strong, which is helpful to young learners.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Butterfield More than 1 year ago
I bought this book for my four year old nephew. I couldn't believe how much fun we had reading it together. Once he caught on he couldn't wait for me to turn the page and get to the next letter. It made learning the alphabet and sounds a lot of fun. This is a great book for new readers and kids going into kindergarten. I know I will buy more copies of this book in the years to come for kids of family and friends.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago