Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

F is for Friendship: A Quilt Alphabet

F is for Friendship: A Quilt Alphabet

Helen L. Wilbur
Illustrator:  Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen 
Nonfiction Picture Book  Series
For ages 6 to 10
Sleeping Bear Press, 2011   ISBN: 978-1585365326

Many people have colorful quilts on the beds in their homes, and they never really think too much about them. They do not realize that quilt designs often have a story, and that making a quilt takes many hours of painstaking work.

In this very special nonfiction picture book, Helen L. Wilbur’s poems and informative text is paired with Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen’s illustrations to give young (and no so young) readers a memorable reading experience.

For each letter of the alphabet the author presents us with a word that has something to do with quilts and the making of quilts. For example, for the letter A she tells us about the artistry that goes into making quilts, describing how three layers of fabric are used to create a bedcover that is both beautiful and warm. In the poem that goes with this word we learn that even an everyday quilt is “a work of art.”

On the G page we learn that making quilts is often a skill that is passed on from mother to daughter on and on for generations. We see a picture of a little girl watching her mother, who is carefully working on a quilt. The mother’s mother taught her how to quilt, and perhaps she too will share this skill with the little girl who is watching her.

Different regions of the world have their own quilting styles and designs. On the K page, we learn that in Hawaii the beauty of the islands is captured in the designs found on the Hawaiian Kapa Moe quilts.

As they read this book, readers will come to appreciate the work that goes into making a quilt. They will come to understand that quilts connect us with the past, and they also serve as gifts that last into our future. As with all the Sleeping Bear Press alphabet books, this title can be enjoyed by readers of different ages. The pictures and poems being particularly appealing to younger readers, and the longer sections of text being more suitable to older readers.