Paul Thurlby's Alphabet, written and illustrated by Paul Thurlby

There comes a time early in every parent's career when you feel like you MUST purchase an ABC book for your child. Singing, apps and Sesame St. cannot do all the teaching and that is where that old fashioned printed page comes in. But, being the discerning people you are, you don't want just any ABC book - you want something that is unique, entertaining and anything but obvious. For me, the book was  C is for Curious: An ABC of Feelings by Woodleigh Marx Hubbard, published in 1995. Sadly out of print, I am happy to report that there is a new unique, entertaining and visually stunning ABC book to fill this gaping hole. Inspired by Marion Bataille's amazing feat of creativity and paper engineering that is ABC3D, (check out the superb book trailer) and looking for a project to keep him busy in the midst of winter and the recession, Paul Thurlby, began illustrating his own alphabet to keep himself occupied. As he writes in the artist's note at the end of the book, "My alphabet needed to be different from the many versions around, so I decided to pursue the challenge of fusing the object of the word with the shape of the letter." After illustrating each letter, Thurlby would post it online. Soon many design and illustration blogs were sharing his work across the internet and the experience transformed Thurlby's career and "led to some exciting commissions." Happily for us, a literary agent took notice of Thurlby's project and we now have Paul Thurlby's Alphabet, which has a dust jacket that unfolds into a poster with the whole alphabet on it, to share with our kids! Also, for those of you who's kids have moved beyond the need for ABC books, consider this gorgeous book for a baby shower gift or first birthday present that will not be forgotten. 

Thurlby illustrates the alphabet with flair and a playfulness of style he says has been described as "retro-modern." Thurlby also employs a bit of collage in his work using "old books, postcards and pieces of paper for backgrounds to my illustrations which often, for example, involves buying an old book from a charity shop just to use it's back cover!" The effect is great and, as noted in a review at Library Mice, "although the style looks simple, there are a lot of details to pour over." In fact, Thurlby's choice of word for each letter combined with his illustration is so seamless that it is easy to forget you are actually reading an ABC book.

Although not actually part of Paul Thurby's Alphabet Book, this is my favorite letter...

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