'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Sunday 4 February 2018

Review: Letters From New York: Making Pictures with the A-B-C

Letters From New York: Making Pictures with the A-B-C is a like a literacy scavenger hunt and a travel guide, all rolled into one book.

Maree Coote (whose book Spellbound won the 2017 Bologna Ragazzi Award) has taken iconic New York places and people, and integrated the alphabet with them.

A yellow taxi, for example, is depicted using a 'B' for the front and back of the car, 'a' for the wheels, and 'A' for windows.

In fact, each picture uses the letters that spell out its name. So all the letters in the words 'NYC taxi cab' can be found in the picture of it.

It's a typography-lover's dream, with letters in various fonts, upper and lowercase, and in different orientations, depending on the shapes they offer. Look for letters that are upside down, elongated, and flattened, too. There is also striking use of colour.

Kids will enjoy finding letters (and words) on the pages, and might even be inspired to try creating their own illustrations in this style.

Buildings like the Empire State and the Flatiron are included, and there's a fabulous squirrel whose tail is made from a large 's' (or two), and whose eye is a 'q', and ears an 'R'.

Throughout Letters From New York: Making Pictures with the A-B-C you'll also find bits of trivia, offered in rhyming text. Did you know that a squirrel stopped the stock exchange from trading for a whole hour?!

There's plenty for both children and adults as you tour the city and explore culture, music and fashion.

This a book filled with artistry, and feels both retro and contemporary. Clever and educational -- wonderful for classrooms and at home.

Title: Letters From New York: Making Pictures with the A-B-C
Author: Maree Coote
Illustrator: Maree Coote
Publisher: Melbournestyle Books, $29.95
Publication Date: February 2018
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780992491765
For ages: 4-8 year olds
Type: Picture book