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T is for Tumbling
by Julie Morstad
AGES: all ages
SIZE: 4 x 6
PRICES: US $14.95, Cdn $15.95
HARDCOVER: 978-1927018446

CM Magazine - 4/4 stars

Tt is for Tumbling, by award-winning illustrator and fine artist Julie Morstad, provides a captivating alternative to the typical ABC book. Morstad presents an attractive collection of 26 flashcards depicting novel subjects for each letter. Nouns such as “Aa acrobat”, adjectives such a “Nn new coat”, verbs such a “Tt tumbling” and adverbs such a “Ss slowly” provide an interesting representation of the alphabet. 

     The inclusion of humour in the fine ink and watercolour drawings adds interest and whimsy to the illustrations. Some examples of this humour include a monkey strumming a “Bb banjo”, a giant bear and a little girl dancing a “Jj jig” and a boy riding a tortoise “Ss slowly”. The inclusion of nontraditional subjects for some letters, such as “Qq quetzal” and “Ww waiting”, as well as variations in representing some more traditional subjects, such as “Oo owl” with the owl standing on teacups or “Yy yarn” with two girls wrapped inside an unravelling ball of yarn, draws closer attention to each letter resulting in conversation possibly leading to other language activities. 

      Morstad’s artistic approach to the alphabet, together with the sturdy card format that enables the child to hold a single card at a time, creates the opportunity for interaction and fun for both the child and the adult. The flashcard format lends itself to a potential card game, a display such as a frieze, or even placement on the fridge with magnets to represent a ‘letter’ of the day. The delicate line drawings with detailed simplicity blend art and alphabet into a special early childhood learning experience.

"Whatever your feelings about flash cards, and they can be a remarkably contentious issue, we defy you not to fall for this lovely collection of ABC cards from Julie Morstad, the illustrator of When You Were Small and Where You Came From. And there’s no A is for Apple here. Instead you’ll find acrobats, forts, masks and more. These cards are almost too beautiful to be kept in the appealing box they’re packaged in, we’d rather use them to create an alphabet frieze in a child’s bedroom." 

Yoyomama, http://www.yoyomama.ca/2009/09/abcs/

Nylon Magazine - Rebecca Willa Davis


There are some things that you've probably grown out of. And then there are those things - playing hide and seek, wearing big bows in your hair, and throwing the occasional tantrum - you'll probably never get too old for. 

Which is something Julie Morstad understands. The Vancouver artist uses ink and watercolor drawings to capture both the innocence and eeriness of childhood, as showcased in her new solo exhibit at Vancouver's Atelier Gallery. From games of tag to making tents, Morstad explores the darker side of playground games (and we're not just talking skinned knees). 

"Being a child in the age of commoditized and marketable fairytale, my drawings reflect both an unabashed delight in the preciousness of this narrative as well as a conscious subversion of the same," explains Morstad, making clear that her work is more than just a high art version of a Disney film.

- Shortlisted for the 2007 Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award

"Whimsical, crosshatched line illustrations" - Booklist

"Delicate lines and softest of colors create a nostalgic ambience" - Quill & Quire

"Gentle line drawings give a child's imagination plenty of room to roam" - Sarah Ellis,Canadian Family