If you’re not familiar with the Abrams Block Book series you’re missing out. They’re epically oversized board books covering a variety of topics and recently they’ve been getting pretty nerdy. The Marvel Alphablock is the latest licensed franchise to get the block treatment hot on the heels of the Star Wars Block which served as a primer to Star Wars terminology for tiny tots.
The Marvel Alphablock assigns a Marvel character to each letter. A is for Ant-Man, B is for Black Panther, and so on. Each letter is cut out separately as it’s own page with the two pages on either side worked into a continuing scene. Some of them – like the Black Panther page – expand to reveal even more heroes. Some – like the letter G – may feature two heroes (Groot and Gamora). Others may reference either part of a hero’s name or secret identity (such as Captain Marvel for M).
Each page is a new opportunity to meet a Marvel favorite with other characters (whose names often do not begin with the appropriate letter) in the background. Some scenes in the book come from films, some are wholly unique. And as fun as the letters may be what really matters are those accompanying illustrations.
The artwork in this book is fabulous. The characters are all made to look somewhat cute and approachable for young readers which is just kind of funny for their parents and caretakers. But beyond that it’s just cool to see the original artwork in this new style. I’m always a fan of creative new takes on characters and Peskimo’s illustrations rock. My kiddo loved them, too.
Now, I will say that it’s a little depressing to see just how many Infinity Wars nods there are in the book. The pull-out page for the Letter B that features the Black Panther also features Bucky and Black Widow for obvious reasons. And in the Spider-Man page for the letter S you can see Thanos’s cronies arriving in the background. Even the letter T doesn’t pull punches and just shows Thor attacking Thanos – which, yes, is two examples of T but man is it a gut punch to older readers.
That said, it’s awesome. I loved it. My kiddo loved it. She loved naming all the characters she knew and learning the ones she didn’t know yet. She was super stoked, too, to connect our cat named Loki to the character named Loki. This is a great pick for little Marvel fans as well as their parents or caretakers. It helps them begin to learn letters and it lets the person reading with them nerd out to the extreme. It’s a win-win!