I am having quite the most perfect morning and there is one reason responsible …. After a long wait, my lovely friend Al’s first children’s book, Operation Alphabet, finally plopped through my letterbox.
You might remember I mentioned Al and his book a while ago here (along with his Top Ten list of children’s books). I was lucky enough to be introduced to The Ministry of Letters over a year ago and even then, whilst the i’s were still being dotted and t’s crossed (literally), I knew that this book would not only become the children’s book of the year but one of those books that will be passed down and loved by generations to come.
Operation Alphabet is the first story from The Ministry of Letters, published by Thames and Hudson last week, and tells the tale of Charlie Foxtrot, a day-dreaming boy who just doesn’t have any interest in learning the alphabet for his homework. To the rescue comes an army of charming letters — sent on their mission by top secret government department, The Ministry of Letters. In their plight to help Charlie with his ‘alphabet-a-heebiegeebies’ and show him how brilliant letters, words and reading can be, they incur great adventure – speeding through a fabulous London landscape, escaping a hungry cat (cats like to eat letters!) and even getting a helping hand from Royalty! Other then just being a great story, I also love the underlying message about how learning can be fun and that letters and words are more then just school-work.
Al’s day-job is as a (splendid) Creative Director for the much-acclaimed Advertising Agency, Mother. And I think you can see his expert creative eye in his partnering with Barcelona based illustrator, Luciano Lozano and Mother’s own Head of Design Jim Bletsas. The genius-team have created a truly, truly beautiful book. You can also see their consideration for the readers on The Minstry of Letters website, where you can download some MoL extras — bookmarks, book-plates, ‘keep out of this room’ signs and the Letters themselves are bought to life.
After receiving my copy this morning I have already ordered 5 more for upcoming birthdays of children I know. As you know from me already, I think books are the best thing you can give a child and this is now my favourite, favourite picture book. You can buy Operation Alphabet in most good book shops or from Amazon (UK or US).
PS – You can also actually see the letters on YouTube here — my kids LOVE watching this over and over.