Growing up with two parents in the Navy meant the phonetic alphabet was familiar in our home, but for most kids it’s the language used by all their favourite people in uniform like police or firemen. Alpha is a book that teaches the alphabet in a fun way and with an unusual level of depth to the illustrations.
The phonetic alphabet is that language you hear the cops on television use when they are reporting a number plate over their radio “alpha, tango, charlie”. It has a word for each letter of the alphabet and is recognised worldwide. Such a fun way for kids to learn their alphabet, especially if they love to role-play too!
What makes this book a real whimsical beauty is the choice in illustrations and how they play with the words of the alphabet. O for Oscar is accompanied by an elegant gown on a red background, while P for Papa is an open wallet revealing a photo of a child. The image choices open up young minds to the variety of ways that meaning can be applied to words. Alpha not only teaches the phonetic alphabet but it can be a starting point for conversations or inspiration for creating stories.
There are also some that spark curiosity for finding out more like J for Juliet represented by a small pink bottle reflecting the image of a girl. Or how about C for Charlie that shows a plain black bowler hat: an association immediately obvious to grandparents but not so much for younger people. Every page is a catalyst for learning more beyond the simple alphabet words presented. All that and it looks lovely too.
Because this book is a bit beyond the usual ABCs it is recommended for older kids, around six years and above. You can find Alpha by Isabelle Arsenault at Book Depository for $28 with free shipping worldwide.