Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Once upon an Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers

When I heard about this book first, I thought god, another alphabet book. It seems like a writer sells, and instead of doing another wonderful story, their publisher says, we've got to get an alphabet book out, its a no brainer, it'll sell and the framework is already done. Anyway, there it was in the library, the CBI book of the year, so I thought I'd take a look.  
My kids loved it. They laughed and laughed. And the illustrations are AMAZING. Its worth buying alone for them - especially if you have a budding artist in the family. There are so many times when a pencil "scribble" or "messy" brush stroke makes something stunning - or hilarious and usually both. 

I'd pitch this at ages four to seven - alphabet books seem to be traditionally aimed at babies and toddlers, which when you think about it, is daft. Kids usually don't learn letters until school and this starts at four at the youngest. 

Parnsips. We read so many American picture books in our house that sweet potatoes and squash are the vegetables we are accustomed to hearing about. I hadn't thought how lovely it would be to see a parsnip here. (As I read this book, I realised it was written in a Belfast accent. I wonder is the American version different? I hope not.)

Once Upon An Alphabet has a story for every letter.The book is enormous - coffee table size - and weighs a ton. While it is clearly aimed at those trendy bearded parents of kids who already have Maps and Iggy Peck Architect (And I'm sure they will buy it - they should), it is still really very good. 

Yep, Oliver Jeffers has done it again. More power to his elbow. P.s. the book design is by the authors older brother Rory Jeffers.


  1. I still haven't checked this one out! I love Oliver Jeffers, too. I'll put it on hold now. Then I'll try to get back with you about the accent thing. ;)

    1. Its a bit like the way Vitruvius from the Lego Movie speaks Danzel - (although I think Liam Neeson is from Newry), but the accent is similar!