Cleo’s Alphabet Book by Caroline Mockford – Book Review

Cleo's Alphabet Book by Caroline MockfordSince we just got Arya an alphabet poster I was curious to read Cleo’s Alphabet Book by Caroline Mockford to compare the objects used to represent each letter.

The front cover of the book has Cleo, the familiar orange cat, playing with a kite against a blue and green background. The illustration is surrounded by a bright red frame filled with letters written in different colors.

The combination of colors, pictures, and letters make the book a fun selection to read to any curious child.

Cleo’s Alphabet Book follows a familiar pattern similar to other books on the alphabet. Each letter is represented by a different item with both a text description and picture of the item. Since this is a Cleo book, Cleo the orange cat appears in every image.

The use of Cleo in each illustration makes the book far more interesting than generic alphabet books. Unfortunately the quality of illustrations is not consistent throughout the text.

Some pictures–like Cleo playing with a kite or drinking milk–are memorable and unique. In others–like Cleo looking at a nest or facing a van–Cleo’s presence seems like an afterthought. As the book is most interesting to fans of previous Cleo books, the orange cat should have been used more decisively in all the illustrations.

In a twist on the common practice, Cleo’s Alphabet book does not explicitly write out the name of each item. So an “I is round and made of ice” while a “U protects us from the rain”. In the corresponding pictures, an igloo and umbrella are clearly identifiable. Young children are thus incentivized to remember the name of each item in addition to learning the alphabet.

Like in all Cleo books the background color varies from page-to-page. Mockford uses different colors throughout her illustrations as well making the entire book appealing for young babies. Arya liked the “O” page the best because of the bright orange color. I thought the “X” page with Cleo walking on a colored xylophone was particularly clever.

Cleo’s Alphabet Book is a great choice for children who are learning the alphabet and have been exposed to any other Cleo book. Colorful pictures and the identifiable presence of the orange cat make the book interesting enough for young children to follow all 26 letters.

Cleo’s Alphabet Book costs (including shipping) under $7 new and under $4 used from Amazon.