"Alpha Buddies Land" brings the alphabet to life through the fun cartoon characters Alpha Buddies. Children will fall in love with the characters as they learn a series of new words. It is the first picture book in a series of eight exciting stories where the Alpha Buddies pair up with their friends and they all go on an exciting adventure at the end of a rainbow, in a magical place called "Alpha Buddies Land".
The fun of Rink’s first Alpha Buddies books comes not just from the beaming letter characters or the bright, inventive digital backdrops that are choc-a-bloc with endearing suns, fish, elephants, horses, and lacey-eyelashed hearts. That’s all memorable, of course, but what’s most powerfully engaging is the way the book’s alphabetical structure, allotting one text page and one full-page illustration for each letter, invites young readers to imagine along about the next letter’s activity or character name. Rink is generous in the number of elements included in each spread, so readers guessing kitten, kite, or kiss for K (full name: Kala K) will feel rewarded.
That spirit of playful abundance even enlivens the pages given to the alphabet’s final three letters, perennially linked, in alpha-books, to xylophones, yaks, and zebras. The X, Y, and Z pages likely won’t be favorites like U’s—“Ulla U” gets a unicorn, an umbrella, and the cutest smile in the book—but they exemplify Rink’s approach. Even when young readers have a good idea of what’s coming, Alpha Buddies Land gives them more than they might expect, with an emphasis on the darling. Even the vulture hanging out at a volcano is cute as a bug.
Takeaway: This lively alphabet book introduces 26 darling and inventive letter-based characters.
Great for fans of: Alethea Kontis’s AlphaOops, Maira Kalman’s What Pete Ate.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: A