Book Review: Letters from Australia, by Maree Coote

Every picture in this book is made with letters if you look! Test your powers of observation and spell you way around the nation!

By
An Australian picture puzzle book with each illustration made up of letters.
Overall
3

Maree Coote is an author/illustrator of over a dozen children’s books. She is also a typographer, photographer and publisher. She has had a successful career in advertising. Coote has a love for history, culture, art and design. And all these things are very evident in her books which are set mostly in her home city of Melbourne, but in this newest addition to her repertoire, Letters from Australia, she has included the whole country.

In Letters from Australia Coote has made each illustration about things found only in Australia but not all of them are the usual things we would see in a children’s book. We can of course find the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and The Great Barrier Reef, koalas and kangaroos, but also we have people like Dame Nellie Melba and Albert Namatjira, and things like New Parliament House, or a Melbourne tram.

Each illustration is based on letter art, which means they are made up of the letters that spell their names. The word is also written on each page so younger children can find every letter in the picture without needing to be able to spell the word. The words are also written in the same font which has been used in the illustration to avoid confusion for the younger reader.

At the end of the book, we can also find a little bit of information about each picture.

This is an interesting idea for a book and I think would encourage children who are particularly artistic to try their own pictures using only the letters that spell the words. It would also be a great activity for any primary class, regardless of age.

I am however not sure it would appeal to every young child as the illustrations are not all easy to distinguish and the themes of the pictures are not always relevant to the very young, but they are certainly very clever and for those children who already know the alphabet, they may get great joy in searching for the letters which make up each illustration.

Reviewed by Sue Mauger

Distributed by: Walker Books Australia
Released: April 2019
RRP: $29.99

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