CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 18 . . . . January 13, 2012
Kari-Lynn Winters' wintery adventure story of little blonde Nan and her Pa, filled with "c-c-cold" shivers and "wwwwww whistles [of] wind," is heartwarming.
This alphabet book incorporates letter-sounds. The sounds are made by people like Pa while he "g-g-g-g... gulps down his coffee," and by objects like the "xxxx [of] Pa's boots [scraping] the icy snow." As the text for the sounds is larger than the rest of the text, young readers are encouraged to participate and can easily identify the sounds on each page. Because the sounds are familiar ones, such as the "zzz zzz zzz" of a snore or the "b-b-b" or a bumpy bus ride, Runaway Alphabet could invite even reluctant, or very young readers, to join in.
Ben Frey's detailed and colourful illustrations of various winter scenes, from a hockey game on a frozen blue pond to a toboggan ride on a stark white sheet of snow, are full of atmosphere. Since the story takes place over a winter evening, the images are dark and captivating. The details from the tiny pictures on Pa's map, to the snow-suited people sitting in the chairlifts above Nan and Pa, provide young readers with a lot to look at.
Runaway Alphabet is a unique alphabet book and would be a perfect read while tucked into a warm bed on a chilly winter night.
Jessica Kluthe has an MFA in Writing from the University of Victoria. Her forthcoming book, Rosina Vecchia: A Matrilineal Memoir, will be published by Brindle & Glass in 2013.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.