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Children's Fiction Alphabet


by (author) Dan Bar-el

illustrated by Graham Ross

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Sep 2006
Alphabet, Friendship, Humorous Stories
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2007
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2006
    List Price
  • Downloadable audio file

    Publish Date
    Sep 2017
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2013
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 3 to 5
  • Grade: p to k
  • Reading age: 3 to 5


Did you ever try to use an egg in place of a football? Or dress up a live quail in doll's clothes when you didn't have a doll? Or strap rag-dolls onto your feet in place of slippers? In Alphabetter, twenty-six boys and girls find themselves in twenty-six different predicaments when the alphabet refuses to cooperate with them. In the end, the solution turns out to be right on the next page, if only they can find it…

Did you find all the letters hidden in the pictures in Alphabetter? Some of them are very hard to find! These are the ones that we know about. Maybe you found others as well. Happy searching!

About the authors


Dan Bar-el est un auteur à succès, un pédagogue et un conteur qui a publié des romans, des albums illustrés et des bandes dessinées. Depuis vingt et un ans, il travaille avec des enfants de trois à treize ans en tant que prestataire de services de garde et donne des cours de théâtre et d'écriture. Dan habite à Vancouver.


Dan Bar-el believes that the highest compliment a preschool child can pay is to call one silly. He carries the label with honor. "Preschool children have no patience for 'jokes,'" he says. "Ask one to tell you a knock-knock joke and, painfully, you'll see my point. But nothing gets a giggle like the absurd. Nothing is funnier than turning the rules on their heads." And that is exactly what Dan has done in his new book, in which each of twenty-six children is named for a child he has taught. The author of Things are Looking Up, Jack and Things are Looking Grimm, fill, Dan lives, writes and teac

Dan Bar-el's profile page

Look! Look what I've done!! The words of an eight year old as he holds up the drawing of a vibrant red fire engine. Oh Graham, that's wonderful.

Really? Oh this is good. You draw a picture and you get a reaction. I could get into this! And so it began. The seed was planted, further watered by bedtime rituals of propping pillows up against his bedroom wall getting into bed to get lost in a family member's reading of The Wind in the Willows.

An unintended lesson learned through those readings that our intrepid illustrator still calls upon in his illustration work is that the viewer will take different things from the illustration and he will add elements to the illustration that may go over some heads, but others will catch them and smile. There's always something to look at.

A graduate of the illustration program at Sheridan College in Ontario, Graham thought he would stick around the big smoke and in addition to his work as a designer at Canadian publisher McClelland & Stewart, he would also cultivate his Flock of Seagulls hair style and work on his dance floor moves. But alas soon follicles started to recede and shoulder pads deflated, so Graham moved back to his hometown of Ottawa, Ontario to contemplate his next career move.

It was in Ottawa that Graham began his freelance illustration and graphic design career. A career that has spawned illustrations for such publishers as Orca Book Publishers, Scholastic Canada, and Meadowside Books of the United Kingdom, as well as numerous Canadian government agencies and private design firms.

He lives in Merrickville, Ontario with a circus star family: his juggling wife, a helldriver daughter, a canine cannonball, and a fire breathing cat.

Graham Ross' profile page


  • Commended, Canadian Toy Testing Council Great Books
  • Short-listed, SYRCA Shining Willow nominee
  • Commended, OLA Best Bets
  • Commended, CCBC Our Choice
  • Short-listed, CLA Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award nominee

Editorial Reviews

"...a seek-and-find as well as a concept book...the humorous acrylic and collage pictures are bold, and the bright crisp colors show up well."

School Library Journal

"…delivered with an infectious exuberance and cadence theat manifests itself not just in the playful text, but also in illustrator Ross's quirky, kinetic characters."

The Globe and Mail

"This creative collaboration is highly recommended."

Canadian Book Review Annual

"...appropriate for early elementary students who enjoy funny stories and look-and-find books..."

Book Notes

Librarian Reviews


The dust jacket reads: “Dan Barel believes that the highest compliment a preschool child can pay is to call one silly… Nothing gets a giggle like the absurd.” This is a silly book that will make young students giggle. It works this way: the page for the letter E features Edward who has an egg. However, the illustration shows poor Edward playing football and the egg just doesn’t fit the bill. What he really needs is a…football. Get it? The students will! Alphabetter will actively engage students. Without knowing it, they will learn the alphabet. The illustrations are colourful and humorous. For good measure, and more fun, Ross hides a letter on each page for children to find.

Dan Bar-el is the author of Things are Looking Up, Jack and Things are Looking Grimm, Jill. Graham Ross is the illustrator of By a Thread by Ned Dickens.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2007-2008.


Dan Bar-el’s Alphabetter is a catalogue of youngsters with alphabetical needs: “Hector had a hammer, but he didn’t have ice cream. Ina had an ice cream but she didn’t have a jewel. Joo Pyo had a jewel, but she didn’t have a kite.” At the end of the book, everyone solves their problem as Bar-el quickly works backward through the alphabet, sorting out who should have what. Graham Ross (who also illustrated the wacky and visually challenging By a Thread) uses acrylic paint on Gessoed watercolour paper with watercolour pencil and collage. The result is vivid and lively with just the right amount of kookiness. (For extra fun, Ross has also hidden the letter depicted on each page in the illustration.)

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Winter 2007. Vol.30 No.1.


A mixed-up alphabet creates merry mayhem for 26 boys and girls. Preschoolers and parents can work together to find all the hidden letters.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Canadian Children’s Book News. 2007.

Other titles by Dan Bar-el

Other titles by Graham Ross