A picture book about the alphabet that transports readers into a whimsical fairyland.
The charming illustration on the cover of Harden’s book is the first hint of the fantastical journey that awaits the reader. After a brief introduction to the secrets of the land of Whippety Wood, the book starts with the letter A and an acorn fairy who adores dancing and seems to come alive right on the page. Harden weaves a creative story with inventive words and pictures that not only bring each letter to life, but also take readers on a unique trip into a magical world. For example, for J, she introduces readers to “Jit the Junco and the juniper fairy,” who are enjoying the snow, and the illustrations show that a Junco is an adorable gray-and-white bird and that a juniper has a pine branch with berries; the juniper fairy, meanwhile, flies through the air with such joy on her face that readers can’t help but respond to the moment. The delightful illustrations have a whimsical quality reminiscent of best-selling author-illustrator Jan Brett’s but on a simpler level. Harden’s warmth and creativity are present on almost every page, and every image delivers. The text is simple to read aloud, but the word choices are sophisticated enough to prompt educational discussions between parent and child. The author even manages to include lessons about recycling, the true meaning of Christmas, multiculturalism and the importance of friendship, while also encouraging readers to look around them and see the beauty in nature. The book closes with a glossary that gives more detail about each picture and reveals hidden details.
A marvelous picture book full of fine storytelling and magic.