By Al MacCuish
Thames & Hudson, $19.95, 64 pages

Did you know that in an ordinary mailbox in London there exists a top secret government department called the ministry of letters? It is run by twenty-six agents of the S.A.S. (Special Alphabet Service). That’s right! Each letter, A-Z, works to create all the words in the world. But they also have secret assignments. Author Al MacCuish, in his book Operation Alphabet, tells the story of how the S.A.S. come to the rescue of Charlie Foxtrot, a young boy who is just starting school. Charlie finds the alphabet strange and confusing. When he comes down with a case of the alphabet-a-heebiegeebies, the agents prepare a plan and set off across London. See what the S.A.S. does for Charlie to help him learn his ABCs. Luciano Lozano’s illustrations are delightful. Any one of the 50 pictures is filled with details and energetic creativity. When removed, the book’s cover turns into a poster depicting each letter in costume and featuring their favorite words and musical instruments. This is the ideal book to introduce young children to the alphabet and the joys of reading. MacCuish and Lozano have created a unique, well written, beautifully designed adventure that families will love. Mission accomplished!

Elizabeth Franklin