Once Upon an Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers

Once Upon an Alphabet

Written by Oliver Jeffers

3+ readers   Books of the Month   All Shortlists and Winners   Carnegie Greenaway   
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The Lovereading4Kids comment

Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2016.

One of our Books of the Year 2014 - December 2014 Book of the Month Award-winning illustrator Oliver Jeffers has created an outstanding alphabet book which goes far beyond the traditional expectations of such a book. In additional to each letter having its own, beautiful Oliver Jeffers illustration, every letter has its own mini-short story in which the particular letter features extensively.


Once Upon an Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers

Ten years after the publication of his first book, How to Catch a Star, Oliver Jeffers delivers a new and exciting picture book as he follows the alphabet creating a short story for each letter, complete with his highly original and entertaining illustrations.

The letters of our alphabet work tirelessly to make words that in turn make stories, but what if there was a story FOR each of the letters instead? Turn the pages of this exquisite book to find out...

Here you will discover twenty-six short stories introducing a host of new characters (plus the occasional familiar face). From Edmund the astronaut with his awkward fear of heights, via the dynamic new investigative duo of the Owl and the Octopus, through to the Zeppelin that just might get Edmund a little bit closer to where he needs to be, this book is packed with funny, thrilling, perilous and above all entertaining tales inspired by every letter in the alphabet.

Download a Once Upon an Alphabet colouring in activity page here!


Praise for 'Lost and Found'

'Beautifully illustrated, simple warm story...little children will love to share it. Carousel

'My picture book of the year, a joyful exploration of the power of friendship.' Irish Independent

Praise for 'How to Catch a Star':

'The best recent picture book by light years... stylishly spellbinding.' Telegraph

About the Author

Oliver Jeffers

Oliver Jeffers has won numerous awards and delighted millions of kids and parents alike with his beautifully hand illustrated stories.

Jeffers's picture books are wonderfully accessible. They explore themes of friendship, loneliness, independence and imagination. He has written and illustrated, or "made", as he prefers to put it, five hugely successful picture books. The first three - the "boy books" - feature a small boy who sets off on a series of daunting quests. How to Catch a Star (2004), the first of them, was inspired by a Brer Rabbit story he read as a child. In Lost and Found (2005) the boy heroically rows to the south pole for the sake of an unhappy penguin, and in The Way Back Home (2007) he rescues a young Martian whose spaceship has crashed on the moon.

The Heart and the Bottle is wholly compelling for the importance of its message and the brilliance of how that is conveyed in words and pictures. This is a book to return to time and time again says Julia Eccleshare, Lovereading4kids’ editorial expert.

Oliver Jeffers

Jeffers was born in Australia in 1977 and brought up in Belfast. He studied visual communication at the University of Ulster, and graduated in 2001. Jeffers became passionate about making picture books when he began to understand the subtle relationship between words and pictures – ‘that was what excited me. Until I got really involved, I hadn't realised how just a few words can totally change the meaning of a picture.’ Now living in New York, he works as a painter, designer, printmaker and installation artist, but remains very busy making picture books.

Did you know?

Oliver loves plastic food, suitcase handles and Elvis, and has developed a bizarre habit of endlessly writing lists he never reads. He remains hell bent on travelling all over the world.

You can see Oliver talking about his artwork in this video:

We have a super set of Oliver Jeffers activity pages to download :

Once Upon an Alphabet colouring in.

The Day the Crayons Came Home maze.

Incredible Book-eating Boy wordsearch.

Stuck wordsearch.

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Book Info


112 pages
Interest Age: From 2


Oliver Jeffers
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HarperCollins Children's Books an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Publication date

25th September 2014




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