Discover the NATO phonetic alphabet - and find layers of connection in every letter - in an enchanting alphabet book from celebrated artist Isabelle Arsenault, illustrator of Jane, the Fox, and Me.Alpha, Bravo, Charlie... Since 1956, whenever time and clarity are of the essence, everyone from fire fighters to air traffic controllers has spelled out messages using the NATO phonetic alphabet. Now, with equal precision - infused with a singular wit and whimsy - the award-winning Isabelle Arsenault, illustrator of Jane, the Fox, and Me, interprets this internationally recognized code and makes it her own. From the elegant Tango to the enigmatic Echo, from the humorous Kilo to the haunting Romeo and Juliet, the striking art in this remarkable ABC book elicits laughter and curiosity, calls up endless associations, and will draw the reader back again and again.
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Isabelle Arsenault is a Canadian illustrator who has won an impressive number of awards and has achieved international recognition. Her books include Migrant by Maxine Trottier, a New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book and a finalist for the Governor General's Award, Once Upon a Northern Light by Jean E. Pendziwol, and Jane, the Fox and Me by Fanny Britt. She lives in Montreal.From School Library Journal:
Gr 3 Up—This unique abecedarian tackles an unusual topic for an alphabet book-the NATO Phonetic Alphabet, also known as the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet "used by various emergency services." From "Alpha" to "Zulu," each spread features a full page watercolor/gouache/pencil illustration on the right and the word printed in large blocky black letters on the white expanse of the left, with the first letter highlighted in light blue. As the blurb at the back explains, the book aims not only to teach the readers this "internationally recognized code" but that "each page, each letter, each word, and each image invite investigation." The latter sentiment is somewhat of an understatement, as most of the image/word pairs require a level of sophistication beyond most children. Readers might grasp why "Charlie" is a bowler hat, or that a tumbler with ice and brown liquid, though not exactly child-friendly, stands for "Whiskey," but a picture of alpha particles for "Alpha," a pair boxing gloves for "Mike," or chocolate cake for "Kilo" may stump even some grown-up readers. VERDICT Though beautifully designed and lovingly illustrated in Arsenault's signature retro style, this book seems destined for a niche audience.—Yelena Alekseyeva-Popova, formerly at Chappaqua Library, NY
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