Friday, December 30, 2011

Paul Thurlby's Alphabet






There are so many alphabet books on the market that any newcomers must be pretty special to stand out. Paul Thurlby must be aware of that fact because he sure nailed it. He describes his unique book as "the challenge of fusing the object of the word with the shape of the letter." Even the cover is cheery, like the boy with the sparkly scarlet A body is cheerily waving the readers in. Appropriately enough, the A in this book is for awesome! 


No crunched up alphabet here - each letter gets its own two page spread. The left page shows both upper and lower case letter against a solid colored background. The right page is the uppercase letter embedded in or transformed by design. Just underneath the letter is the two word description. Some of them are obvious, like D for dog or R for rabbit, with others a bit more abstract.

A fun game to play the first time through the book is to cover the written description with your hand and try to guess what the letter stands for while only being able to see the picture. We stumbled on H for Hang and F for Fierce, but had fun with our guesswork.      

I like how the solid colored pages have small scuff marks and little bits of color in various places. It gives a nice patina to the pages, like this is an older, well-loved book that has been passed down through the ages. The style of the illustrations reinforce this thought, as Paul Thurlby has a very distinctive, vintage type style. 

At the back of the book is the Artist's Note, which provides some interesting insights into how this book came to be. I love learning how writers and illustrators come up with their ideas, or how a particular project evolved. Another little perk: the book's dust jacket is doubled up. Remove and unfold to reveal a nice poster of the entire illustrated alphabet.

Review copy provided by Candlewick Press.
 

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