Sometimes I wish I could do video reviews (although not right now because you’d see that I work in my pyjamas). Sometimes a video is the only way to really show off a book.
Alpha Block by Christopher Franceschelli is such a book. It’s a fresh take on the standard alphabet book, with sturdy, die-cut card pages in the shapes of letters. The illustration behind each letter shape gives readers hints as to what will be revealed – open the book to the letter A and you’ll find a picnic blanket, a basket and something red peeking out from behind the A. Turn the letter over and the page reveals an open picnic basket and an apple.
The ice cream sundae, with hints of sprinkles, chocolate sauce and a cherry is perfect for the letter I, and the rainbow hiding behind a grey ‘R’ is beautifully simple. There’s no particular theme to the objects chosen to represent each letter but the randomness works, as you bounce from balloons and hammers to a moon and an octopus.
The illustrations are the work of British design team, Peskimo. The artwork is vibrant, crisp and has that certain retro-style that’s all the rage (particularly with parents!).
There is an appealing tactility to this book, and not only in its large shape (for it is indeed a ‘block’). There is something enticing about handling the die-cut letters, tracing their angles, holes and curves, both front and back. However, don’t worry – the pages are strong and, although the book is chunky, it is a satisfying fit for little hands.
Find Alpha Block online at Book Depository, with free delivery free to Australia.