#908 – The Alphabet with Bella by Lorraine O’Garro and Katlego Kgabale

pandemonun day

P    A     N

Today is Pandemonium Day.
A   D  Ay of helpful less lambedLAm,  M   O N and rutter chaos. If ever whacky, there ever was a  un organ ized   I U M   day, today it could be is that day. Free yourself of the Panda—monium!   DAY!


The Alphabet with Bella
Written by Lorraine O’Garro
Illustrated by Katlego Kgabale
Clink Street Publishing   06/21/2016
32 pages    Ages 2—5

“Teach the ABCs with ease thanks to this delightful children’s book, in which little Bella travels the world, experiencing exotic fruits, new countries and amazing animals, all while learning the alphabet.” [press release]

The Alphabet with Bella is a colorful trip to various sites Bella mostly sees for the first time. From all Bella does and sees she tends to stay in Africa and tropical areas. The general items could satisfy traveling to the rest of the world.

After introducing the African continent and herself, Bella visits with her grandma. She meets two animals, a zebra and a dog. The book also includes three other animals (an elephant, a flying fish, and an octopus). Bella experiences a waterfall, a rainbow, and the night. There is also a volcano for the letter “V.” Bella dresses for a carnival, plays the xylophone and the steel pans (sic), along with two toys (kite, yo-yo).

1 ef

Three foods are included. A mango for “M,” a plantain for “P,” and Bella balances a tray of molded jelly for “J.” Bella shows off her hair for letter “H” by singing into her brush-microphone; wears an umbrella; and becomes the conductor of a train. Finally, Bella goes to an island and visits London where she meets a queen.

Each image is beautiful, bright, and colorful. Kgabale makes great use of the white space, drawing your eye to that letter’s item. Kids will love the images. Not receiving a physical book, the review is based on an eBook. In this format, the illustrations are vibrant. Each image vividly pops off the screen. Oddly, Kgabale is not given an illustrator credit anywhere The Alphabet with Bella is available. Without the illustrations, there is no book.

1 s-t

The text is simply the alphabet. For her part, O’Garro wrote this in the correct order. Seriously now, the press release gives a better account of the author’s contribution to The Alphabet with Bella. O’Garro gives her Bella an interesting background:

“Bella Sweeney is the star of the book as she guides the reader through her multi-cultural alphabet, holding their hand through the learning experience, and making it lots of fun in the process.

“Bella is a 4-year old Black-British girl of Caribbean heritage; she lives in a cul-de-sac in the leafy suburbs of north London with her parents Sandra and Theo. She is a free spirit; always fun to be around, warm, kind and considerate; she is always happy, from the moment readers meet Bella they will fall in love with her cheeky personality and zest.”

It is hard to see the above in an alphabet book where the items for each letter are the star of the moment. The press release also said, “The Alphabet with Bella, is the first in The Bella Series of books for children aged 2-5 years of age.” It does not say what is in Bella’s future. Maybe she introduces numbers and colors next. Unless what follows contains a story, along with whatever Bella teaches young children, it will be hard to see Bella as anything more than a placard, pointing out the various letters, numbers, colors, or any topic and their corresponding items.

1 u-v

That said, Bella makes a pleasant guide throughout the letters. She looks friendly and has a spark in her eye. Bella is not on each page, but when she is there she becomes part of the experience. She stands on a rock, gazing at the waterfall; walks alongside and talks to a zebra (who has the best “who the heck are you” look); and enjoys bouncing through puddles, while she holds an umbrella above her raincoat enclosed body, all the while a lovely smile covers her beautiful face. The pages missing Bella are a missed opportunity for the illustrator.

Young children will enjoy learning the alphabet with Bella. Parents may need to explain a few things, such as, “Where is London?” and “can we see a flying fish?” There are several opportunities for discussion, as many of the items will be new to young children. This is actually a plus, pushing The Alphabet with Bella above most other ABC books.

The Alphabet with Bella is Lorraine O’Garro’s first children’s book.

THE ALPHABET WITH BELLA. Text copyright © 2016 by Lorraine O’Garro. Illustrations copyright © 2016 by Katlego Kgabale. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Clink Street Publishing, New York, NY.

AmazonIndie BooksClink Street Publishing

Find The Alphabet with Bella on Goodreads HERE.
Find the Press Release HERE.

Lorraine O’Garro:
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Katlego Kgabale:  https://www.behance.net/Kady
Follow on Twitter          @kady517

Clink Street Publishing:  http://www.bookpublishing.co.uk/
Follow on Twitter          @Authoright

Clink Street Publishing is an imprint of Authoright.

Reprinted with permission from THE ALPHABET WITH BELLA © 2016 by Lorraine O’Garro, Clink Street Publishing, an imprint of COMPANY, Illustrations © 2016 by Katlego Kgabale.

Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

The Alphabet with Bella
Written by Lorraine O’Garro
Illustrated by Katlego Kgabale
Clink Street Publishing 06/21/2016


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