Alphabet in the Park

2 April 2024

Alphabet in the Park
by Ashley Vercammen, Illustrated by Evgeniya Filimonova
Published by Home Style Teachers
Review by Shelley A. Leedahl
$20.00 ISBN 9781778152900

I’ve reviewed a number of children’s alphabet books across the decades, so I’m always impressed when a writer puts an original twist on the traditional “A is for Apple” text. Saskatchewan’s Ashley Vercammen and her illustrator, Evgeniya Filimonova have done just that. Their 2022-released Alphabet in the Park contains a rhyming narrative, it’s interactive, seasonal, and it offers some original ideas re: ways to explain—and show—the twenty-six letters that form the English language. The letters actually become characters, playing along with the children in the book.

This unique story is set in a park, and it’s winter. From a visual perspective, this makes for many pages with snowy white backgrounds, which in turn make the illustrations stand out. On the left side of each page spread a single letter takes its turn in a solid bold colour. In choosing a winter theme and selecting one orange-haired girl to appear in several of the scenes, readers get a sense of continuity. The cast of characters is culturally inclusive, which is always a bonus in children’s stories.

Young readers are welcomed to add their own message to the beginning of the book, and there’s another page at the end of the book for their input. Spelling is presented as “playing,” and what child doesn’t like to play? The orange-haired girl (with pink earmuffs) and her brown-skinned friend start the story with a snowball toss and an invitation: “Do you want to play a game? Let’s find all the letters. Try to spell your name!”

Some of the pages ask readers questions about the illustrations. The A page reads: “What is near the alligator? It has been playing there all day. I found the letter “A”, hopping on one leg!” I love this use of personification. Who says a letter A can’t hop, or the blue letter B can’t cross a yellow bridge? The letter J is wearing a scarf, and the letter K is on a swing set next to a boy in a snowflake-patterned coat who says he could “swing all day!”. Imagination is key here, and there’s a wonderful synchronicity between the words and simple images.

Vercammen doesn’t stick to true rhymes, which is also welcoming. For example, she rhymes D with “freeze,” F and “left,” X and “tux”. And again, her letters of the alphabet get up to all kinds of winter fun in the park on playground equipment and with natural elements (ie: a snowy hill and a snow fort). The letter N is outfitted with twiggy arms and a carrot nose, and voila: a snowman. The letter Q becomes a snowball with ease. And look at that letter S—on the hockey ice “she has already scored twice!” and a few pages later, W is curling!

Vercammen’s got a great thing going here, and with the numerous other books she has written and published with Home Style Teachers. To see all the books on this young, hard-working Saskatchewan writer’s growing and impressive list, visit


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