Book Review: A French Quarter Alphabet

The French Quarter Alphabet
  • Book Style: A French Quarter Alphabet is an ABC book
  • Reading Level: 2 (Read with Help due to: some mid-level vocabulary)
  • Reading Length: 7-10 minutes (FYI – we never account for toddler questions)
  • Illustration Style: Duo-chromatic, if such a thing exists
  • Age Target: 0-5 Years of Age

A French Quarter Alphabet is an ABC book for children and toddlers written by Christine Achille Gunter.  The book is essentially an homage to the city of New Orleans, which is known for its deep culture.  As a parent, you’ll enjoy an ABC book that is truly unique.  You’ll also enjoy the fact that your little one will learn a ton about the world and more specifically New Orleans.

I certainly wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I opened up the first page of A French Quarter Alphabet.  What I found immediately was that I had stumbled upon a very stylish book.  It seemed as though every component of the book had been chosen specifically to support a style and a theme.  I found myself staring at the pictures on each page to try and gain a true understanding of what I was looking at.  Often times, I found myself intrigued because I was looking at something I didn’t know.  I mean, how many of you can tell me what a beignet is…without looking it up on Google, that is.

What do I mean by stylish?  Well, have a look at the picture below.  Note that essentially, the picture is what I’d describe as duo-chrome (not to be confused with monochrome).  Really, each picture only contains the colors blue and red.  There is of course a white component to every picture, which should lead you to images of both the American and French flags.  There’s no other way to describe this kind of detail in a children’s book but as exceptional.

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The French Quarter Alphabet

Sacrebleu…and red…and white!

Speaking further to the stylish nature of the book, there’s an impressive level of creativity that went into it.  I love that Christine didn’t just build an ABC book.  She took her craft seriously as evidenced by these examples:

  • The illustrations very much fit the persona of New Orleans. They exhibit an older style, yet they’re highly detailed and are interesting to take in.  If you’ve been to New Orleans, you know what I’m talking about here
  • Each letter (and therefore each page) refers to a true cultural heritage item. There are no dull letters in this book.  You won’t be seeing “A is for Apple”. Rather, A is for Alleyways that run between the streets!
  • As we discussed previously, the usage of red, white, and blue is an incredibly stylish approach and these colors powerfully communicate symbolism
  • While the book is crafted as a child’s alphabet book, it’s clear to me that this could be set on any adult coffee table and stimulate a great deal of conversation
  • The pages rhyme in pairs, which I can only imagine was a challenging task!
  • The book provides you with the opportunity and creative format through which to teach your little one his or her ABCs.  That’s obviously the most important thing about any book of this nature

Now, we all know that repetition helps a toddler retain information, but this book doesn’t rely on that.  Instead, A French Quarter Alphabet helps your child make a connection due to the stark differences between it and other ABC books.  See, A is for Apple, but it’s also for Alleyways.  Now ask yourself, what’s the only common thing between two ABC books?  The letter A.  Essentially, because the letters are taught in such diverse ways with different objects, toddlers have no choice but to begin to understand the commonality.

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A French Quarter Alphabet 2

This picture is only here because I love football!

Now, if you’re in the midst of teaching one of your little ones his or her ABCs, this is a fantastic educational book.  Not only will it teach your child the alphabet, but it’ll probably teach you and your child a little bit about New Orleans and its fantastic cultural heritage.  It is certainly the most unique alphabet book that I’ve ever reviewed, and that’s saying a lot.  I’m certain it’s a perfect compliment for parents that need a little help teaching their little ones the alphabet.  It’s very affordable, as well. You can pick up the book on Amazon for $4.97 USD (Kindle) or $8.99 USD (Paperback).  Head over there now, and get this cute little educational book for you and your little one to enjoy.

Thanks for reading…to your children!

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