As a new-ish parent, I’ve been inundated with alphabet books from well-meaning friends and family, and I am most grateful for them all. But I’m especially glad for a set that uses images from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to illustrate each letter. My daughter gets lost in the paintings, prints, etchings, etc., and you know what? So do I. It’s that rare meeting of adult high art and kid formatting that keeps us both engaged.
The above video, while not strictly for children, could certainly work as well. A concept of the Argentine group Ombu Architecture and graphic designer Federico Gonzalez, “The ABC of Architects” is a vintage flipbook tribute to the last 100 years or so in international architecture, set to a jaunty, golden-age-of-radio score by Eugene C. Rose and George Ruble (which you can download for free here).
With the kind of quaint globe-hopping (but without the passé racism) of a Tintin comic, “The ABC of Architects” skips through its list of twenty-six revered names from almost as many countries--from Finish Alvar Aalto to Iraqi-British Zaha Hadid. There are many names I don’t know and many familiar favorites. I can imagine this appealing to preschoolers or serious students, and for some of the same reasons. While the creators express grief at having to leave out so many artists, “The ABC of Architects” is nothing less than joyous and inspiring.
h/t Jimmy Askew
Josh Jones is a writer, musician, and museum-hopping father.