Books On Books Collection – Suse MacDonald

Alphabatics (1986)

Alphabatics (1986)
Suse MacDonald
Paper on board, casebound sewn. H236 x 285 mm, 56 pages. Acquired from Book Depository, 10 September 2021.
Photos: Books On Books Collection.

While Suse MacDonald’s Alphabatics can find its ancestor in Bruno Munari’s ABC Con Fantasia (1960), it also finds some clever descendants in Nicolas McDowall’s A Bodoni Charade (1995), David Pelletier’s The Graphic Alphabet (1996) and Anne Bertier’s Construis-moi une lettre (2008).

As the letters are put through their acrobatic paces in three to four steps on the verso page to become the image on the right, the book gently pushes the left-to-right reading direction. Mahmoud Tammam has created animals composed of their names in Arabic script. It would be interesting to see a right-to-left Arabic version (Alefbatics?) of Alphabatics.

Further Reading

Abecedaries I (in progress)“. Books On Books Collection.

Anne Bertier“. (in progress). Books On Books Collection.

Nicolas McDowall“. (in progress). Books On Books Collection.

Bruno Munari“. 19 August 2021. Books On Books Collection.

Dave Pelletier“. 10 August 2022. Books On Books Collection.

Books On Books Collection – Anne Bertier

Dessine-moi une lettre (2004)

Dessine-moi une lettre (2004)
Anne Bertier
Casebound, sewn. H258 x W258 mm, 56 pages. Acquired from Amazon, 17 August 2021.
Photos of the work: Books On Books Collection.

Anne Bertier’s three alphabet books cross sub-genres of the ABCs with distinctive style and educational challenge. While the answers to the visual puzzles are offered at the end of the first and last books, considerable pleasure is missed by giving up too quickly. For the English speaker learning French, there’s the added pleasure of cementing a familiar word with Bertier’s images and discovering a new word that will also stick because of them.

Rêve-moi une lettre (2005)

Rêve-moi une lettre (2005)
Anne Bertier
Casebound, sewn. H135 x W132 mm, 52 pages. Acquired from Amazon, 30 August 2021.
Photos of the work: Books On Books Collection.

Here is the French version of the alliterative alphabet. Its opening with Alice suggests an underlying literary motif, but more likely at play is the association of the book’s title (“dream me a letter”) with Alice’s dreaming of Wonderland.

Construis-moi une lettre (2008)

Construis-moi une lettre (2008)
Anne Bertier
Casebound, sewn. H135 x W256 mm, 56 pages. Acquired from Amazon, 17 August 2021.
Photos of the work: Books On Books Collection.

The English alphabet’s “go to” for the letter A does not work for the French pomme, but from the similarity between the image here and that in Dessine-moi un lettre, there seems to be one, too, for the French alphabet. With the cognate word in French and English, the letter B is too easy. But C is for ?

With the overlap between design, art and children’s education, Bertier’s numerous large-scale exhibitions in China, Italy, Japan, Korea as well as France come as no surprise. Think of Dik Bruna, Eleonora Cumer, Katsumi Komagata or Bruno Munari.

Further Reading

Abecedaries I (in progress)“. Books On Books Collection.

Eleonora Cumer”. 6 September 2019. Books On Books Collection.

Katsumi Komagata“. 22 March 2020. Books On Books Collection.

Bruno Munari“. 19 August 2021. Books On Books Collection.