Wednesday 6 April 2022

Arabella’s Alphabet Adventure

Arabella’s Alphabet Adventure by Suzy Zail, illustrated by Christopher Nielsen (Walker Books) ISBN 9781760652425 RRP $25.99

Reviewed by Nean McKenzie

This picture book is about an alphabet book in a library with just twenty-six letters, called Arabella’s Alphabet Adventure. The main character, Arabella, is a book fairy and is not happy for her book to be on the lowest shelf in the library with ‘Especially for Children’ written above it. She wants to get away from children with sticky fingers and go towards the top shelves, where books with lots of words are kept. Sneaking her book into the pages of a travel book, she experiences adventures in Africa which are fun at first, but then Arabella realises what she’s lost. She makes her way back to the children’s section, where her book can be borrowed and loved as it should be.

Brightly coloured illustrations accompany the text in this book about the importance of appreciating the good things about yourself. Arabella’s Alphabet Adventures is described as the most beautiful book in the library, with a P that ‘still smelled faintly of pineapple’ and an S that ‘dazzled in a galaxy of silver stars.’ But Arabella still feels her book is not exciting enough. She eventually comes around to seeing that an alphabet book teaches children to read and love books. And what could be more amazing than that?

This is Suzy Zail’s first picture book after more than thirteen novels for adults, primary school children and teenagers. Christopher Nielsen is also a noted illustrator of many books around the world. Arabella’s Alphabet Adventures is suitable for early to mid-primary school children.  

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