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'If students can't learn the way we teach, we must teach the way they learn' (Tomlinson)

Book review: Alphabet City Melbourne, by Maree Coote

Posted by Lisa Hill on November 17, 2013


Alphabet CityAlphabet City Melbourne is one of the cleverest little books I’ve come across.  It’s a board book, about 10cm square, and there is a page for each letter of the alphabet.

What makes it so clever is that each letter is hidden in an image, a photo taken of some place or object in Melbourne.

If you look at the ones on the cover at right, you can see the easy ones:

  • the letter B in mosaic from the Block Arcade
  • the letter U from the neon sign on the Herald Sun Building

and other examples of easy ones are the T from the red tram signals at traffic lights and an F from a piece of graffiti in Hosier Lane.

But the tricky ones are the ones that our Preps really liked.  I lent this book to one of our prep teachers, and she had a splendid time (and did some very useful revision of letters and sounds) with her class.

The O in the Flinders Street Station clock wasn’t too hard, but can you see the lower-case R in in the (lower LHS) Luna Park sign?  My favourite is the letter S hidden in a massive sculpture by Clement Meadmore and the Q formed from a cycle pedal and gears.

Our preps know that they’re pretty clever because they can read now, but they were apparently beside themselves with excitement when they were able to puzzle these letters out.  (And I think their teacher enjoyed it just as much as they did!)

Because it’s a board book it’s made of sturdy card and will survive repeated readings in a prep or kindergarten classroom, but Alison says that it’s best kept until the children already know their letters and sounds so that the children can enjoy the fun properly.

When You Go to MelbourneThe ingenuity that has gone into this book is brilliant – I do so admire this kind of creativity!  Maree Coote is an artist, writer, designer, and photographer and she’s as Melbourne as the trams and the floral clock.   Some of her other books include The Art of Being Melbourne; 50 Neds: Ned Kelly Icon of Australian Art; and the children’s picture book When You Go to Melbourne.

This would be a lovely Christmas stocking present for some small person you love:)

Author: Maree Coote
Title: Alphabet City Melbourne
Publisher: Gingerbread Books, 2013
ISBN 978-0-9757047-9-0
Source: Review copy courtesy of Scott Eathorne from Quickmark Media.

Availability
Fishpond:Alphabet City Melbourne

PS Don’t forget to check out the Melbourne Style website!

2 Responses to “Book review: Alphabet City Melbourne, by Maree Coote”

  1. Thank you for the fabulous review, you are very kind. The book was great fun to make! Maree Coote
    I popped a link to you here

    http://www.melbournestyle.com.au/MelbournestyleNEWS.html

    • Lisa Hill said

      Hello Maree, and thank you for your kind words. I just wish I’d been better able to convey Alison’s excitement about this book: she was so thrilled that her little students responded with such enthusiasm to the creativity in the way the letters are represented. All the best with it:) Lisa

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