Arabella's Alphabet, by Suzy Zail & illustrated by Christopher Nielsen
Arabella's Alphabet is a wonderous celebration of books, reading and libraries. As a former children's librarian, this book captured my heart from the opening page, with its cosy depiction of children reading books in the children's section of a library.
The story is told from the perspective of Arabella - a well-loved alphabet book who is only borrowed by sticky-fingered children. Arabella longs to be borrowed and adored by adults. She grows sad that her book contains only letters and illustrations, and no words.
As soon as she gets a chance, Arabella slips inside an Africa travel guide on the returns trolley. From here, Arabella and her letters travel to Africa, sleeping under the stars and spotting crocs and lions.
It's a great adventure, but soon Arabella grows tired of travelling and having no one to share it with. Not even one person has read her and suddenly she's very lonely.
Will Arabella come to realise that she has always been perfect, just the way she is?
This book is such a delight to read aloud - the careful use of literary devices - such as alliteration - really makes the narrative sparkle and joyously celebrates the beauty of words.
The beautifully textured illustrations are full of vibrant colour and charm, designed to engage the attention of young children. They work perfectly with the narrative to shine a light on the wonder of books, words, libraries and reading.
I also love the gentle message that shines through that really we are wonderful just the way we are.
This book would be a wonderful tool to use in the classroom or home to extend learning around the process of learning to read, the joy of sharing stories with carers at home, the sounds all the letters make, and the way libraries work.
Published by Walker Books