Alphaprints ABC by Jo Ryan and Sarah Powell

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Alphaprints ABC by Jo Ryan and Sarah Powell

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Lorraine McDonald
Reviewed by Lorraine McDonald
Summary: A charming and delightful, interactive ABC with bright tactile pages. Innovatively illustrated animals provide initials for each letter.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 26 Date: September 2013
Publisher: Priddy Books
ISBN: 9781849159425

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A is for Alternative. B is for Bright. C is for Charming. D for Delight. Well, that’s my opinion of the alphabet board book Alphaprints ABC – take it from me, the actual rhymes are better!

I set the bar low for this book. After all ‘ABC’s’ are ten a penny in every supermarket and discount bookstore. Normally, the most interesting thing is flicking to the back to find out what X is for. When 'Alphaprints ABC' popped through my letterbox, my very young son was just embarking on a postprandial paddy. Perhaps the milk was too cold (or too hot) or too much (or too little). Either way, he was not a happy chappy and was telling me all about it in the only way a pre-verbal child can. Out came the ABC and by ‘B is for Bear’ silence reigned…

So what’s so special about this alphabet book? It takes an animal theme to represent each of the letters and each creature has a line of rhyme. So far, so good, but pretty standard for the genre. Things get more interesting with the illustrations. Each animal is formed out of finger prints – a thumb for a face, a finger for an ear etc. What takes this book to another level is that the prints are raised. This may still sound underwhelming. However, the combination of colour and pattern is just so inviting to touch. The finger prints are different sizes with some of the features of the animals over printed. There’s a lot of tactile variety so the urge to stroke the page doesn’t wane at ‘F is for Frog’. First time round, I put my baby boy’s palm on the page and moved it across for him. Second time round he was reaching out for himself.

Visually the illustrations are very appealing. A first glance shows many large, clear faces. Even a baby of a few weeks old should be able to focus on them. The colours are varied, bright and cheerful. Take a second look … could the body of the Yak really be a coconut? Is that a rhino horn or a carrot? Fruit, veg and everyday objects form part of the pictures. That sounds a bit crazy as I type it. It really works though and makes re-reading entertaining. The objects are not necessarily obvious at first glance. My son and I have read, and touched, our copy several times now and I have only just noticed that the iguana’s crest is made up of wax crayon tips. His legs are curly drinking straws. There’s a lot to take in.

As a book for babies and toddlers, comments on the binding, paper etc are relevant. ‘ABC’ is a sturdy board book, about 30cm square with rounded corners. This makes it easy and safe to hold whilst wrangling a small (angry) person on your lap. The pages are glossy and look like they will stand up to a wipe. No need to worry about sticky hands tracing those finger print outlines.

I love sharing this book with my son. If I was being picky I could challenge the presence of a couple of these creatures. Dinosaur is ok at a pinch but Unicorn? Really? There was no other animal starting with U? I suppose it’s a talking point. So, what did they do with that other pesky letter, X? Pristella Maxillaris. Otherwise known as the X-ray fish. Of course.

For another ABC which impressed us have a look at ABC and Do by Lee Singh and Karen Wall.

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Buy Alphaprints ABC by Jo Ryan and Sarah Powell at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Alphaprints ABC by Jo Ryan and Sarah Powell at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Alphaprints ABC by Jo Ryan and Sarah Powell at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Alphaprints ABC by Jo Ryan and Sarah Powell at


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