Alpha by Isabelle Arsenault (Walker Books)

12115503_10153581528750446_7422295087425355258_nI think we may have mentioned, once or twice, how much we really appreciate a well done ABC book and this NATO phonetic alphabet book is all kinds of great.

First and foremost it’s created by the creative genius that is Isabelle Arsenault and secondly she has used her illustrative magic to bring a completely new take on each of the letters, we are so familiar with (and those we aren’t).

12143092_10153581528885446_8403261396526872106_nWith subtle and very different references to those universally renowned words of the NATO alphabet, Arsenault makes this 1956 alphabet her own.

Adding a touch of humour, elegance and unusual, but carefully selected associations, you’ll never see this alphabet in the same way again.


Each spread is presented with the alphabetical word in imposing bold, black capitals and on the opposing page, a selection of stylish and sophisticated items bring each new meaning to life.

Most of the meanings are abundantly obvious, using wit, sensitivity or a haunting eerieness, but some are less clear including the boxing gloves for Mike, which we can only assume to be Mike Tyson.

12074624_10153581528830446_4455626476483309584_nWhilst these images may not be how you originally perceived them in your head, these will undoubtedly appear in your imagination in future, when you recant each word from A to Z.

This is truly a collectors item, as well as a treat for younger eyes and hands. Arsenault’s use of colour and texture in such deceptively simple, but utterly striking images are a sight to behold and one we will enjoy returning to again and again.

PS. Don’t forget to look at the back cover too!

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