A timeless story about an alphabet, a daring adventure and a book who learns she is perfect, just the way she is.
“I’m an ABC book and that’s all I’ll ever be,”
Arabella complained to her capital C.
Arabella’s Alphabet Adventure is the most beautiful and most borrowed book in the library - but only ever by children. Tired of having her pages torn by sticky fingers, Arabella slips into the Very Serious Book section of the library and takes an adventure within the pages of an African travel guide. But will Arabella realise that where she belongs is closer than she thinks?
Suzy Zail has worked as a litigation lawyer, specialising in Family Law, but now writes full time. Among other titles, she has written her father’s story, The Tattooed Flower, his life as a child survivor of the Holocaust. Her first novel for young adults, The Wrong Boy, was short-listed for the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year Awards, the Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature, the WAYRBA, USBBY and YABBA awards. Her second novel with Black Dog Books, Alexander Altmann A10567, was a Notable Book at the CBCA Awards. Her latest YA novel, I Am Change, is the story of a young Ugandan girl’s struggle to stay in school. Suzy’s books have been published in Germany, the UK, U.S. Sweden, Italy, Romania and the Netherlands. She lives in Melbourne and has three children.
Christopher Nielsen’s illustrations flow forth from a love of vintage design. Tin toys, Mexican wrestlers, Matchboxes, Medical Charts and Indian Goddesses all jostle for attention amongst the flotsam and jetsam of his flip-top head. His images have been adopted by wineries, zoo’s, department stores, radio stations and fish mongers around the globe as well as many books. When he's not making images or raising a young family he can be found on stage playing guitar with his band The Ramalamas.
His artwork has been acknowledged by The British Book Design & Publication Awards, The AGDA Awards, 3x3, Communication Arts, American Illustration, Society Of Illustrators NY, Luerzers Archive, Hotshop Awards and The Creative Annual. He has received Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in the Illustrators Australia Awards. He was shortlisted in 2018 for the CBCA Crichton Award for best new illustrator in children's book illustration, and in 2021 Jelly-Boy was a CBCA Notable.
Books like this are a highlight as a reviewer, as they remind us that books are their own kind of magic and art, and as readers, there will always be those books that hold a special place in our hearts. They can come to us at all times in our lives, and show us new ways of thinking or connecting with people.
A wholly satisfying look at the library and why it is there, younger readers will thrill at recognising the way books work. And along the way have a marvellous adventure with Arabella, who comes to see that life on the other side of the library is not what she wants after all, that she is happiest just the way she is.
This is a great little story to read with little ones and appreciate all the things that are actually quite good in life.
Suzy Zail has returned to what ignited her love of words, the picture book, with Arabella’s Alphabet Adventure, a colourful reminder to be grateful for everything we have.
As a Librarian, this gem of a picture book is close to my heart – the story is clever, relatable and innovative. The storyline demonstrates the power of words and the journey of discovering where you belong – something we all search for in life.
Kids Book Review