Bedtime Reading 1: Once Upon an Alphabet

Since starting this blog, I’ve always wanted to include a regular book review feature. One of the most exciting parts of planning Bea’s nursery was where to put the books! At this point, some of you will be completely on board; others will be already be looking at other blogs by now…

Seriously though, as a primary school teacher, one of the pleasures of the job is for it to be perfectly normal to read children’s books. Furthermore, as a parent, I have an excuse to buy them! I read to Beatrice before she was born, and have made every effort to read to her since. She’s not always very receptive, as I’m usually trying to cram in a few pages of something whilst she’s really tired. However, when we time it right, she tries to grab the pages, stares at things and seemingly likes the different voices!

‘Bedtime Reading’ posts will be all about reviews of various children’s books, thoughts on reading and if I get around to it, parenting books as well.

This one is one from my all-time favourite author/illustrators, Oliver Jeffers. I like this book so much, that I bought one for Beatrice at the same time as buying one for my goddaughter – I’m buying her a library that grows up with her. Maybe her and Bea will be sharing and chatting about the same books in years to come!


The book itself is beautifully presented in hardback, with a vivid orangey-red dust jacket, and the instantly recognisable typography of his books(quirky, varied, playful). The astronaut and zeppelin are lovely nods to the alphabetic nature of the book too. I have a horrible feeling that this book isn’t going to stay pristine for long…

It’s a simple enough premise for a book – a short story is allocated to each letter of the alphabet. Each story is only a few pages long, and in fact very short in terms of word count. Current favourites (I look forward to finding out what Bea’s favourites are) are the letter C, which is a tragic story about an ambitious and carefree china cup, and the letter R (‘Robots don’t like rainclouds’), because, well, you know, I like robots. There are tales of caution, tales of daredevil children (which Beatrice definitely is even at this early stage), and just plain silly ones too.

I know I could keep going on about the artwork in the book, so I’m just going to share a few pictures to give you an idea. I just like the simple way he combines watercolour splashes of colour with ink outlines. It’s just so effective!

Personally, I think it’s impossible to not get transfixed by this book, moreso if you’re a child. Children of all ages will love the little twists, the randomness of it all, and will pore over the pages looking for little details, meaning that you’ll get good value for money too. This is where I need to learn how to use affiliate links, because you can buy it here on Amazon if you wish (other bookstores are available)…

It’s currently available for £16.49, which is definitely cheaper than what I paid for mine originally, so in that case it’s a bargain! At the very least, it looks rather dapper on the shelf. If you want a book that will capture your child’s imagination again, again and again, then you need this one.

We currently have a few other Jeffers titles on the shelves, which you can find out about in a future ‘Bedtime Reading’ post!

There’s also a lot of things I’ve not managed to blog about in the last couple of weeks. Needless to say, there have been a couple of game-changing moments in our household…

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