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Isabelle Arsenault. Candlewick, $18.99 (64p) ISBN 978-0-7636-7852-4

Canadian illustrator Arsenault’s (Jane, the Fox, and Me) alphabet book presents the words of the NATO phonetic alphabet, the “Alpha Bravo Charlie” series used for absolute clarity when spelling out words for radio transmission. Each word appears on the left in imposing block letters, accompanied by a painting on the facing page worked in milky shades of gouache, watercolor, and other media. The objects are often metonymic, giving the part for the whole: “Charlie” shows Chaplin’s iconic black bowler; “Mike” shows a pair of red boxing gloves. Other entries are more obvious: a glamorous couple dancing for “Foxtrot,” a mountain for “Sierra,” a heavy cocktail glass for “Whiskey.” Sometimes there’s a witty leap of logic, as with the slice of chocolate cake for “Kilo” or the red plastic Monopoly game piece for “Hotel.” And some of the images are truly haunting, like the faint image of a ghostly girl reflected in an empty glass bottle that accompanies “Juliet.” Fine artwork and design sense give this creation quiet allure. Ages 5–8. (Aug.)