Book Review: A Northern Alphabet – by Ted Harrison





Book: A Northern Alphabet
Author/Illustrator: Ted Harrison
Publisher: Tundra Books
Date: Board book edition Feb. 28, 2017
Genre: Children's board book  
Pages: 28
Price: $12.99 (US $8.99)
My rating: A charming, beautiful work of art 


I “discovered” Ted Harrison a few years ago when I came across a poster of his work. About a year ago I donated it to the local elementary school, and then the librarian sent me a book to read about him. I was hooked!

I received a copy of this book – A Northern Alphabet by Ted Harrison – from Library Thing in exchange for my honest review.

This edition of A Northern Alphabet is a board book. It’s a very nice size – 7″ wide, 9″ high (22.9 cm x 17.9 cm) – for little hands.

Ted Harrison (1926-2015) was born in England but when he came to Canada he fell in love with the northern part of the country and stayed for the rest of his life. His paintings changed to capture the beauty of the Yukon and its people, as shown in this book. He was famous for his remarkable bold-coloured paintings and in later years he was made a Member of the Order of Canada for his contributions to Canadian culture through his paintings and books. 

In A Northern Alphabet, for every letter of the alphabet Mr. Harrison illustrated with paintings from what he saw and experienced around him in the Yukon. His work is simplistic and meaningful, delightful and full of colour.

Two examples: H h The husky is watching the boys play hockey. N n  The northern lights shine in the sky at night. The art illustrating those letters gives readers an education in some of the culture of Canada, as it does throughout the book.

A Northern Alphabet by Ted Harrison is a beautiful book for young children to learn both the alphabet and something about the culture of the Canadian far north. They will love that the renowned artist chose to paint a moose a deep pink, a bear orange, and the sky always in bands of bold colour. They will even learn new words such as anorak, Inuit, muskeg. This is an excellent book to introduce children to art that looks as if it was made just for them, and for anyone who wants to know more about Canada’s north.

You can find A Northern Alphabet by Ted Harrison on my BUY THE BOOK page. I also post my reviews on,, Goodreads, and Chapters.Indigo if available there.

Your comments are very much appreciated.

Thank you for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂





4 responses to “Book Review: A Northern Alphabet – by Ted Harrison

  1. I love Ted Harrison and his work. I have given this book as a gift a couple of times. A great review!


  2. Dr Damilola Adingupu

    My comments about the book The Northern Alphabet is regarding the K alphabet. In a society where children are exposed to so much at a young age as a result of social media, TV etc, I would have wished that a children’s book would serve to protect these children’s innocence’s and let them be kids. The Kk states “Kate and Kevin are Kissing behind the kayak”. My issue with this sentence is the offering of kissing to 3-5 years old in a children’s book. Is there any reason particularly that children this age need to be reading about kissing? The context of the sentence is that this kissing was done behind a kayak, with an intonation that they have to do the kissing behind something thereby ‘in secret’.

    Our society is full of individuals with porn addiction and other mental health issues because of over exposure to inappropriate materials at a young age, and to see that a children’s book that is broadly distributed by the library in my city is exposing children to more overexposure to inappropriate content and the fact that many older people have read this book and had no concerns makes me shudder.


    • I appreciate your opinion. Also, I agree with your comment about mental health issues and such because of early exposure children are not equipped to deal with. There is so much to weigh and consider when trying to create a healthy environment for children … and all ages, actually.
      Thank you for your comment.


I look forward to reading your greatly appreciated comments. Thanks for making my day! :)

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