Alphabet Street

illustrated by Ingela P Arrhenius

A is for Aardvark, asleep in her bed.
B is for Bear, who is baking some bread.”

This spectacular lift-the-flap book is also a panoramic play scene and a wonderful wall-chart to decorate your room! Lift the flaps, read the funny rhyming text, learn the letters of the alphabet and, then, when you’re finished, flip the book over and have fun with the play scene on the reverse.

“Eye-grabbing design gives this house-shaped board book some irresistible shelf appeal … A clever concept, beautifully executed”

“Alphabet Street is a fabulously fun and unique publication … Modern, digital illustrations in a retro style and colour palette set the scene and suit the charming text wonderfully.”

Read more of these and other reviews



Download the Alphabet Street
COLOURING activity sheets

UK Hardcover
ISBN-10: 1788002164 • ISBN-13: 978-1788002165
US Hardcover
ISBN-10: 1536208272 • ISBN-13: 978-1536208276


See Inside

Author's Note

Alphabet Street had a long journey to publication – I came up with the idea in 1999 and my agent Caroline Walsh and I pitched it to UK publishers for almost two decades before it was accepted. The reason most publishers gave for turning the book down was that, “alphabet books can’t be translated” – so they’d be unable to share the book’s high production costs with foreign co-publishers.

Nevertheless, I felt that the book was sufficiently appealing and original to justify dusting it off and re-submitting it to publishers every few years. And this perseverance paid off when the book was finally accepted by Nosy Crow.

Early concept drawings sent to publishers, showing how the book could be opened out into a wall-chart or play scene.

Ironically – after years of being rejected as untranslatable – the book is also being published in eight different foreign language editions. A key part of the book’s appeal to the overseas market is the beautiful artwork of Swedish illustrator Ingela P Arrhenius whose bright, cheerful style is very popular with European readers. And Nosy Crow cleverly avoided the “alphabet books can’t be translated” issue by pitching the book to foreign co-publishers in a non-alphabetic, non-rhyming version with the alternative title Busy Busy Street.

A section of Ingela's park panorama from the reverse side of the book.

Which just goes to show that, “if at first you don’t succeed” in finding a publisher, it can be worth persevering, and that, if an alphabet book has sufficient appeal and originality beyond the alphabet element, it CAN be translated!


“Eye-grabbing design gives this house-shaped board book some irresistible shelf appeal and it’d make an impressive gift (if a little challenging to wrap!) for the same reasons … A clever concept, beautifully executed by Nosy Crow books; a single package that is a book, a fold-out play-scene and a beautiful frieze.”

“Alphabet Street by Jonathan Emmett, illustrated by Ingela P. Arrhenius with groovy, buoyant art in a softly tropical palette, is another excellent one for the youngest flap-lifters. Shaped like a building with a triangular roof, the book has two flaps per page: The lower level is a store, the upper level a residence. We proceed alphabetically, beginning with Aardvark asleep in her bed, above a bakery where Bear bakes bread. For many parents the key will be the subtle diversity and modern feel of the creators’ choices. Dads as well as moms cook, clean and care for children; the clothing is not gender-stereotyped; someone uses a wheelchair; and the animals’ fur colors range from dark to light in ways that do not evoke (as, alas, some children’s books using animals do) human skin-color prejudices. Another plus: The whole city folds out accordion-style, so you can stand it up to play.”

“Alphabet Street is a fabulously fun and unique publication. A sturdy, house shaped lift-the-flap concertina book with rhyming text and super cute animal characters. It folds out into a large free standing street of shops with an outdoor park scene on the reverse.… Rhyming along the way, the text is fun and charming with each flap dedicated to the next letter in the alphabet and describing the scene inside … Modern, digital illustrations in a retro style and colour palette set the scene and suit the charming text wonderfully. There are many details to explore on each page which will have young ones returning time and time again. … This book is perfect for kids who like something tactile and unique. It can be read like any other lift-the-flap book or folded out to be used as a prompt for role and floor play. I can imagine toy cars and small animals roaming and zooming around the street and recreational scenes.”

“The perfect Christmas gift for parents looking for a three-in-one gift for their little pre-schoolers … Children will get hours of fun out of this sturdy, creative, house-shaped book … With Emmett’s clever, rhyming text and Arrhenius’ bold, graphic artwork, this is a brilliant multi-purpose book with a secret store of learning, education and all-round entertainment!”

“It’s the alluring design that immediately attracts young children to this concertina alphabet book though I don’t imagine any wanting to let go once they start exploring inside. It’s terrific fun, folding out to make an entire street of shops – thirteen in all – each with an apartment above; and all are populated with animal characters either shopping or doing something of a homely nature. … Jonathan Emmett’s cleverly constructed, fun alliterative rhyming text, together with Ingela P Arrhenius’ bold, bright, retro style illustrations make for a splendidly interactive book and even more clever, on the back is a complete fold-out park scene which can be used as a backdrop for small world play. So too can Alphabet Street itself which could perhaps be used in conjunction with a play mat. The learning possibilities, in addition to the obvious alphabet element, are enormous.”