CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 29 . . . . March 30, 2018
According to the online version of the Cambridge Dictionary, "everyday" means "ordinary, typical, or usual". And the things that Covello uses to illustrate the letters of the alphabet are certainly ordinary, and most will likely be found within a child's residence or neighborhood. The brief text for each letter follows the same pattern: [alphabet letter in uppercase only] is for [name of object beginning with that letter], for example ""S is for Shoe". Each letter, with the exception of "I", "T", "W" and "Z", is treated via a single page while the quartet of exceptions each get a double-page spread (with "T is for Tree" requiring that the book be rotated ninety degrees so that the tree's height can be visually accommodated).
Covello's cartoon-like illustrations are gender and racially inclusive. Though a ball is an everyday item, Covello visually makes the point that there different types of balls by dividing the "B" page into quarters, with each containing a child who is playing with a different ball (soccer, basketball, baseball and tennis). Covello uses a similar design on the "H is for Hat" page where he shows four children, each wearing a hat that would be appropriate for one of Canada's four seasons. And his "Ice Cream" comes as soft and hard and in bowls or as sundaes. Three young soccer players on a break enjoy orange pieces, and the accompanying text is printed in orange. Not only do a pair of children see a rainbow, but each letter of the word "Rainbow" is rendered in one of the colours of the spectrum.
The board book's young audience may want to race through Everyday ABC on a first reading, but Covello's illustrations merit numerous revisits as he includes little details that may be missed on a first pass. For instance, "T"'s "Tree" is home to two chickadees, a blue jay, a northern cardinal and a red and a grey squirrel, as well as a child-occupied tree house and a swing. "W" may be for "Window", but children could be asked to describe what the people and animals seen in the windows of the house and apartment block are doing? "V is for Vegetables", but can young "readers" name the different illustrated vegetables, or can they identify the animals portrayed on the "Z is for Zoo" spread?
Everyday ABC is an excellent "first" board book for youngsters, and the title would be an excellent home, gift or library purchase.
Dave Jenkinson, CM's editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.