The Malta Independent 17 June 2024, Monday
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‘M għal Malta’ for some Maltese magic

Sunday, 15 October 2023, 08:35 Last update: about 9 months ago

Written and illustrated by Naomi Gatt

For babies and toddlers, board books are often the gateway to the world of books, with the alphabet board book being one of the most common examples of the genre. In a traditional alphabet board book, the journey often begins with A for aeroplane which, with a swift turn of the page, roars to life and soars off to distant lands, so remote that you're almost guaranteed to meet a zebra by the time you reach the final pages. But the latest alphabet board book from Merlin Publishers breaks away from this formula.

M għal Malta, written and illustrated by Naomi Gatt, is aptly named. Instead of jetsetting around the globe, it stays firmly grounded in Malta and explores the alphabet through all things Maltese. It starts with A for aljotta (bubbling away in nanna Carmen's kitchen) and ends with Z for zalzett (sizzling away on uncle Mark's barbecue). In between these delightful bookends, M għal Malta introduces young children to the Maltese alphabet through various facets of Maltese culture, history and environment, from the iconic girna and luzzu to beloved treats like pastizzi and tea served in a glass.

M għal Malta is the ideal book through which parents, grandparents and teachers can create precious moments and acquaint their little ones to the rhythm and melody of the Maltese language, while inspiring them to discover the unique charm of the elements that define the Maltese identity and way of life.

This board book has been thoughtfully and lovingly crafted by Naomi Gatt, an illustrator who is hardly new to the local children's book scene. Among the books she has illustrated, some went on to be selected as finalists for the National Book Prize, with one of them winning the award.

The illustrations in M għal Malta are colourful and endearing, sure to spark the imagination of children and grown-ups alike as they explore the Maltese world together. The book is especially designed for little hands, with rounded edges and sturdy covers and pages, capable of withstanding the rough handling and curious enthusiasm of young pre-readers.

M għal Malta can be bought from all bookshops or online directly from merlinpublishers.com.

Hurry and order a copy for the little ones you love - as the Maltese saying goes, F for ftira is best served warm.


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