________________ CM . . . . Volume 21 Number 20 . . . . January 30, 2015


Toronto ABC.

Paul Covello.
Toronto, ON: HarperCollins Canada, 2014.
30 pp., board book, $12.99.
ISBN 978-1-44343-144-8.

Subject headings: English language-Alphabet-Juvenile literature-Alphabet books.
Toronto (Ont.)-Pictorial works-Juvenile literature.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 3-7.

Review by Myra Junyk.

**** /4


A is for AGO

B is for Blue Jays

C is for Casa Loma


Toronto ABC, by Paul Covello, is an appealing new board book which uses the alphabet to introduce very young readers to Toronto’s best known landmarks and neighbourhoods. Its vibrant graphics and vivid colour choices will appeal to both tiny visitors and local children.

     Young readers will be intrigued by the buildings, neighbourhoods and locations in the ever-changing city of Toronto. Beginning with “A for AGO,” Covello chooses several iconic buildings throughout the book to familiarize readers with Toronto’s distinctive architecture: Casa Loma, the Eaton Centre, Old City Hall, and Queen’s Park. Perhaps the most interesting building choice and is “T for Tower.” The graphic for the CN Tower, the tallest building in Toronto, stretches across two pages!

     Neighbourhoods, such as the Distillery District, the Islands, the Junction, Kensington Market and the Waterfront, represent both Toronto’s newer and older communities. Covello also chooses several specific locations which highlight Toronto’s history, including Fort York, High Park, Nathan Philips Square, the Ex and Yonge-Dundas Square.

     The text is typical of an alphabet book which uses only basic vocabulary for each letter. However, the integration of vivid graphics and exciting colour choices with the simple text is truly amazing. All of the pages are bursting with colour, whether it is the red and yellow autumn leaves of the Don Valley in “V is for Valley,” or the bright blue uniform of the hockey player in “M is for Maple Leafs.” Covello’s graphics emphasize not only the urban character of the city of Toronto but also the natural splendor of a city full of gardens (G is for Garden), parks (H is for High Park) and water (L is for Lake Ontario). Perhaps the most hopeful environmental picture in the whole book is the fish jumping out of the Don River in the “Valley!”

     Paul Covello describes himself as an illustrator, designer and motion graphics artist who lives in Toronto. Toronto ABC is Covello’s first picture book. It is an impressive debut because of its inspired design choices and innovative graphics. It comes in the footsteps of other Toronto alphabet books such as Allan Moak’s A Big City ABC, and Per Henrik Gurth’s ABC of Toronto. Young readers, as well as their caregivers and teachers, will learn a lot about Toronto’s past and present in this durable and beautiful new board book!

Highly Recommended.

Myra Junyk, a literacy advocate and author, lives in Toronto, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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