book review and giveaway: the adventures of the amazing alphabet

Today I have a book review and giveaway for you.

The delightful Pam Holland is another Australian quilter that I had the pleasure to meet last October at the International Quilt Festival. I love her work, especially her quirky visual sensibilities. She travels extensively – and photographs what she travels extensively.


The Adventures of the Amazing Alphabet is a quirky sort of book. It is sort of a children’s book and sort of a quilters book. She wrote it bit by bit on airplanes as she travelled, thinking of her grandchildren.  It’s about a little girl who discovers alphabet people down in the basement and fights the magpies to get their heads back.


It’s odd. Disjointed. Just a tiny bit scary. Sometimes I don’t quite get it. I love it.


The second half of the book has each character in color then black and white so that you can use a lightbox to trace the figures onto cloth, color them in with fabric markers, and stitch them up into your own alphabet quilt.


So – I have a copy of the book to give away. Pam dedicated to “A.” (the letter).

I’ll choose a winner from those who comment here. As I have loved children’s illustrated books since long before I had children why don’t you tell me some of your favorites.

Don Wood, David Weisner, Mark Teague, and Chris Van Allsburg are some of my favorites. I love things with just a hint of danger, weirdness, or mystery. It’s OK for kids to be just a little unsettled by what they see in a book – it helps spark the imagination and  great questions that arise as a result. 

If you don’t want to wait for the giveaway you can buy the book from Pam’s website if you are in Australia or buy the book in the states from E-Quilter

And congratulations to Marlaine who won Lisa Walton’s book from this giveaway.

Autumn Adams is the lucky winner of this giveaway! Thanks to everyone who left a comment!

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  1. Gabriele says:

    I enjoy children’s books on so many levels. The complexity of a book that can be read to a young child, and the child appreciates on one level, while the adult reading it aloud suppresses a quiet chuckle over the turn of a phrase, or a beautifully illustrated work. I do enjoy Silverstein , Wiesner, Dahl, and Munsch.

  2. I am really impressed with your writing skills as well as with the
    layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself?

    Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one these

  3. Don’t know if the drawing is still on, but I love Patricia Palacco. Wonderful Artist and writer. Erin stead is another amazing children’s book illustrator.

  4. I love children’s books! One of my favorites was “Leo the Late Bloomer.” I don’t know the author anymore. But the story and illustrations were fabulous.

  5. Oh what a lovely book! I think one of my favorite children’s authors has to be Roald Dahl! I hope it is not too late to have my name tossed into the hat. Thanks ever so much!

  6. My favorite children’s books are anything by Shel Silverstein. I loved reading good children’s literature to my students as a teacher, my children as a mother, and now to my grandchildren. At one time I started a collection of Newberry and Caldecot award winners to pass on to my grandchildren. Unfortunately I lost them all in a flood. Boo Hiss to me for storing them so close to the floor.

  7. My mother gave me my box of childhood books when I was 18 years old. I had no sense or sentiment at the time, and unloaded them for free at a used book store… WAH! I have been making up for it ever since.. having raised 4 kids, I have valued, bought, collected, saved most every book, now shared with grandkids… Though it hasn’t stopped me from adding to my collection of children’s books.. I also, of course, adore Chris Van Allsburg.. I really like Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney, Sophie’s Masterpiece: A Spiders Tale, by Eileen Spinelli…. For some almost frightful reading… try some of the original Pinocchio stories… these are not your happy Disney tales! I will look for a copy of The Adventures of the Amazing Alphabet. The images look like the way my brain works, and having lost Mama and Best Friend last year.. it is time to write and draw my own children’s book…. (and if I win the give-away.. I wouldn’t complained a bit-wit-nits worth!) Great Blog and web site! Thank you for making signing up so easy!

  8. kathleen C says:

    How interesting this book looks! One of my favorite illustrators has always been Chris Van Allsburg, ever since I heard him speak in the late 1970s in RI. I volunteer in a small library and am fortunate to see many lovely books and the children who read the books, too. I’ve wanted to make an alphabet quilt though I know my letters would be mundane compared to those in this book. Thanks very much.

  9. Cathy Bertanzetti says:

    I would love to see this book. I love quirky!

  10. I just returned from a quilters cruise that featured Pam Holland as one of the workshop instructors. She is a delightful woman, a great teacher and her quilt illustrations (drapplique) are so wonderful they are beyond description. This book seems as beautifully quirky as the lady herself.

  11. Fabulous – I see this book for the first time and I love it! I am sure not only children would have fun and admire this book.

  12. One of my favourite series of kids books are the ones by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. With Room on the Broom being the one I enjoyed reading to my kids the most. Having a copy of Pam’s book would be great.

  13. I love children’s books. I have my childhood favorites like Seuss, Dahl, and Gruelle. Then I found the Miss Spider series by David Kirk. I love the happy illustrations in his book and the messages that the stories impart. I am lucky that my husband teaches reading to children in the English as a second language program. I get to peruse the books and good illustrations are a must. This winter, I started my 4 month old nephew’s library with alphabet books and that was a blast! As a huge fan of Pam’s, I’d love to make baby Abel an alphabet quilt based on her illustrations. I was looking for inspiration and now I found it! Thanks! I will be ordering her book and hopefully Abel will enjoy the book when he is older.

  14. Where The Sidewalk Ends

  15. Kat Scott says:

    Sendak, Dahl, children’s book illustrators are a breed apart! What a delightful looking alphabet book. Would love to share it with my grandchildren.

  16. Bev langby says:

    Oh my I love receiving your newsletter and this one is just amazing ,I don’t sew but admire those who do and this book is just stunning ,thanks so much for the giveaway ,here’s hoping..
    Cheers Bev

  17. You had me at the photo at the beginning of the post. I have an old, dog-eared book of tall tales that I dearly love. It is a compilation book. The bears that hide in the shadows of the stairs, the boy with the lolly-pop that gets bigger the more you lick it and many more. Fights of imagination with illustrations. I’m not doing it justice. And always the classic edition of the Velveteen Rabbit.

  18. I took a class with Pam several years ago and had a terrific time. She showed us a few of the alphabet people then. I’d love to have the finished book!

  19. “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak; any book illustrated by Susan Jeffers; “A River Ran Wild” by Lynne Cherry – I taught for so many years that I could list beautiful children’s books forever, but these have wonderful illustrations.

    Thanks for sharing the beautiful and quirky alphabet book! It would be a wonderful addition to my collection of illustrated children’s books that I love. When we moved to NC, I had to thin the collection down to a precious few, so it would be fun to add something new.

  20. As a child I read mostly Enid Blyton – when my children were small we read Allan Ahlberg , Richard Scarry, Roald Dahl and Rod Campbell

  21. I love the sketches. It makes me want to sharpen my pencil and get to it.

  22. When my daughter was little we read The Wood Duck by Brian Wildsmith, really loved the illustrations, An Invitation to the Butterfly Ball, don’t remember the author, and a story about how Valentine’s got it’s name. I don’t remember the author or the title, but I do remember some of the illustrations.

  23. Pat Arndt says:

    What wonderment this book creates! I have a grandchild that studies details and takes this sort of illustration to heart. She and I discuss the creativity and the process one goes through, and why being different in life is a good thing.

  24. Lois Johnsen says:

    I love Garth Williams, E H Shepard, Chris Van Allsburg, and Marjolein Bastin are just a few of my favorites. Pams book look like fun! Thank you for the opportunity!

  25. Easily my favourite children’s books are written by Australian author Mem Fox. ‘Possum Magic’, Goodnight, Sleeptight’ and ‘Koala Lou’ to name just three. Her books are wonderful!

  26. Annie Andrew says:

    In Australia I grew up loving Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs . I know it is old fashioned now but her sweet characters of the sea horses and the gum nut babies were offset by the very scary banksia men.

  27. Elizabeth Derby says:

    I love what I have seen of this book, just delightful. Perhaps, I am (at least in part) attracted to it because I have stockings just like those wonderfully modeled. I must admit though that my legs are neither as long or as thin!

  28. What a fascinating book. I’d love to have a copy. Personally, my favorites to read to my daughter when she was little were Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner and Armadillo Rodeo by Jan Brett. I think I especially liked doing the accents (Mexican and Texan) those stories seem to require.

  29. I would love to win this book. I have a wonderful book given to me when I was about 7 years old. It is one of my favorite treasures. It is called “The Bumper Book” and has the most beautiful colored pictures in it along with great poems (Christopher Robin is Saying His Prayers), stories (Owl and the Pussycat) and is totally awesome. I will hold on to it forever and treasure it always. I would love to have Pam’s book to add to my small but wonderful collection. Thanks for the opportunity.

  30. My Favourite children’s Author is roald dahl, but I also love beatrix potter, about as different as you can get!

  31. I would love this book – I could see some of hte pictures translated! Please enter me in the draw

  32. I too admire the works Wiesner and Van Allsburg and have their books. But then there’s Jan Brett (love her borders), Frances Tyrrell and Paul Goble. I actually made a quilt based on one of Goble’s artworks. I have children and grandchildren too but these books are mine!
    I follow Pam and love her work.


  1. […] so here we are.  I saw on Lyric Arts blog that she was offering this same book for a giveaway and it reminded (shamed) me to get this […]