April 28, 2023

Young Youth Year

         Welcome to the April A to Z Blog Challenge!  My theme this year is Relief Printed Alphabet Squared, an alphabet of alphabets illustrated with relief block prints.  Find the master list of participating blogs here.  Whatever you’re interested in, someone’s probably blogging on it, so start reading — you’ve got a lot of catching up to do!
        Today’s first alphabet is the water-themed series of linocuts by Sarah Young.  Her Y is Yabby, which I had to look up.  It’s an Australian crayfish.  I love the wide variety of subjects Young chooses, from tropical to arctic, from modern to 
mythological, from natural to technological, but all related to bodies of water.  I had a tough time picking favorites since I like a lot of these, but I went with H for Harbour and J for Jellyfish.  You can also see her K back in a previous year’s A to Z post, and I expect that some of her pieces with myth
ological beings may  yet show up some time in the future.
        Then there’s Youths’ Battledoor from the mid-nineteenth century.  Battledoor (more often spelled battledore) is another word I didn’t know before encountering it during 2020’s A to Z theme of Nursery Rhymes.  It originally meant a bat or paddle used for various crafts and jobs including laundry, glassworking, and baking (like a pizza peel).  It then came to be applied to a sort of very simple alphabet or primer printed on a paddle so that it was durable and easy for young children to hold when studying.  
The m
eaning was then extended further to any short, simple primer, which is how it’s used in the title of this little alphabet booklet.  Its Y is indeed a Youth, and in case you’re wondering what he’s doing, he’s playing with a whipping top.  For additional letters I’ve chosen the delightfully self-referential Book for B, and the handsome Unicorn at U.
        Our Year alphabets are actually a series of four books, each of which includes an entire alphabet of acrostics for one season.  The acrostics are by Steven Schnur and are interesting in including some very different sorts of words from most of the other 
alphabets.  There are verbs, abstract nouns, and even adjectives.  But of course I’m really here for the illustrations, which are linoleum block prints painted with watercolors by Leslie Evans.  (I assume that’s the same artist who did the Vanishing Wildlife alphabet back at V.)  Not surprisingly, my favorites are the ones that give a little more emphasis to the carving, and rely less on the paint.  Because we’ve got four entire alphabets here, I’m only sharing the Y’s for Summer (Yacht) and Winter (Yearn).  That gives me a little more room to share one favorite from each of the four season’s alphabets.  In Spring X is for X-ing, Summer’s D is Daisy, in Autumn B is for Barn, and in Winter A is for Awake.  (For another alphabet with a year theme, also remember Bowen’s Northwoods Alphabet back at N.)
        The moral of Y is that although youth may be wasted on the young, don’t yearn for yesterday.
        Riddle of the day: which letters will give you the best advice?
        So, what’s your favorite month or season of the year?

[Pictures: Yabby, Harbour, Jellyfish, linocuts by Sarah Young, (Images from sarah-young.co.uk);
Youth, Book, Unicorn, hand-colored woodcuts from Youth’s Battledoor, 1828-43 (Images from University of Washington);
Yacht, Yearn, hand-colored linoleum block prints by Leslie Evans;
X-ing, Daisy, Barn, Awake, hand-colored linoleum block prints by Leslie Evans from SPRING: An Alphabet Acrostic by Steven Schnur, 1999; SUMMER by Schnur, 2001; AUTUMN by Schnur, 1997; WINTER by Schnur, 2002.]


Charlotte (MotherOwl) said...

I think Y gives you the best advice ... always ask why.
And I love, love, love spring just like today, blue skies everything in soft green spring colours, sunshine and promises.
And I am very proud to report that I knew the word battledore before reading your post here - but Yabby was a new one.

Jennifer (UnfoldAndBegin) said...

I like the word Yabby. Doesn't sound like a fish, though. More like a near cousin of someone who is gabby.

Miss Andi said...

I love the moral you put to the end of the post, very true, very fitting.
“In youth we learn; in age we understand.”

Ronel Janse van Vuuren said...

The unicorn is my favourite, of course :-)

Ronel visiting for Y:
My Languishing TBR: Y
Yodelling Dwarfs

Melanie Atherton Allen said...

I love the year ones! In fact, all of the ones for today are absolutely gorgeous. I may love the Barn one the best, though. As for my favorite season... that is tough. I'll start by saying, not winter. I really hate winter. I always think I'll love summer best, but then it is always actually hotter than I expect and I find it less fun than I remembered. Autumn has Halloween, which is my favorite day. But in spring, winter is over (yay!), and I can look forward to summer, without it actually being too hot at me (double yay!). So... spring or autumn?

Kristin said...

I can't believe I missed these! I like the year alphabets best.

jabblog said...

I like then all, but am particularly taken with the acrostics.

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

Charlotte, in the original riddle, the answer is Y's because it sounds like the word "wise." But I like your answer, too - plus, you already knew the word battledore, so I shall award you the grand prize: one free blue sky!

Melanie, your dithering about the seasons made me laugh, and I tend to feel the same way -- except that I actually do like winter, too, at least sometimes. I get sick of it when it's cold and dreary for too long, but I also would be sad if I never got any snow!

Well, you can all go see whether your library has those acrostic books, and check them out!