Basically Different


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It all started with a baby

Upon the news he was to be an uncle, Austin decided on a gift for the new arrival in the family.  An artist, otherwise earning his living dish-washing in a London restaurant, he saved the lids from 2-litre containers of ice-cream, and they became his canvases for an alphabet frieze with a difference--hence the size and shape of Alphabet Art today.

Back when the newborn's parents received Uncle Austin's gift they hung the 26 oil paintings in the baby's room, and friends and visitors asked where they could also have a set of those gorgeous paintings. One of those friends was Moira, and for her, the paintings became poems--poems that she just had to continue to pen until all 26 were done.  So together: Austin's paintings, Moira's poems, and a mother with a passion for publishing, meant Alphabet Art was created. A set of 26 individual tiles to be hung around the room or played with on the floor, accompanied by a book of poems.  

Since then, those 26 paintings have adorned the walls of thousands of children's bedrooms, and so too, thousands of children know a butterfly as a fluttering rainbow...

...feel the underground rumbling, scary exciting, mountain on fire...

...and asks an ancient elephant, can I be your friend? 

You know how you knew every inch of your bedroom when you were a child? Do you want your child to be soaking in the beauty of the world from these 26 inspiring images?  When your little one tells you the zip unzips the earth from the sky, or when they run inside to tell you that their heart is pumping, or names a family member as a secret rose picker, you know you are doing great work for their language comprehension and imagination.

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Reading and learning the Basically Different Alphabet Art poems enhances phonic and comprehension literacy and works in well with early childhood education.  Use the Alphabet Art poetry as a basis for your own bedtime stories, paint your own pictures for each of the poems or use the pictures from the book like flashcards, complimenting the tiles hung around the walls.  How you enjoy this alphabet set is up to you. One thing we know for sure, because we have been told for over 15 years now - you will love it! 

A unique gift for preschool toddler's to help teach abc's, nurture the imagination, and enjoy for fun activities.

an 'off the wall' way to nourish a young mind

Alphabet Art, a set of 26 individual prints to hang in a child's bedroom or nursery comes with a delightful book of poems for bedtime reading. Each 'square' (one for each letter of the English alphabet) has been reproduced from original oil paintings by Kāpiti artist, Austin Whincup. The original illustrations were painted on ice-cream container lids as a gift from Austin to his newborn nephew. Inspired by the images, Wellington poet and playwright Moira Wairama responded to the paintings by writing a short poem using word play for each of the letters, developing 26 rich stories, expanding the thinking-realm already stimulated by the unique artwork.  

Packaged as a set, the alphabet squares and the book of poems make a wonderful gift for child and parent alike. Alphabet Art is the first product launched under the Basically Different imprint.