Customer Reviews & Testimonials

A Colorful Journey Through the Land of Talking Letters

Writer's Digest Review

23rd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards

Entry Title A Colorful Journey Through the Land of Talking Letters

Author: Mary Jo Nyssen                                                    

Judge Number: 8

Entry Category: Children's Picture books


Judge’s Commentary*:

 “A Colorful Journey Through the Land of Talking Letters” is a delightful book. Mary Jo Nyssen has written a book that will delight children and their parents. Not only is this an ABC book that is bright and colorful and interesting, it helps teach children the sounds that all the letters make. She has color coded them too. The short vowel sound is in green, the long vowel sound is in red, the consonant sounds are in orange or blue and so forth.  The little “stories” to go with each letter are cute and interesting, not the usual “A is for Apple”. If a letter can have two or more sounds, she has a story to cover each one with all of that letter appearing in the color to go with its sound. I loved it!

The illustrations by Mike Motz are perfect for this book.  Bright, colorful, and they will enchant children.

This book will be a welcome addition to any home library and in early elementary to help learn the sounds the letters make.

Judge’s Commentary
Writer's Digest Review


I am encouraging all of my Warner Pacific College Teacher Education students to purchase and use Mary Jo's book. She focuses on the numerous sounds that many letters make phonemically, and then uses color to visually reinforce the sound of the letters as they are used in morphemes and words. As a grandfather, I have been working with both my five-year o1d and three-year old granddaughters on their sounds. The five-year old is already learning the basic concepts developed by Mary Jo Nyssen.

Steve Arndt
Senior Associate Professor of Teacher Education at Warner Pacific College, Portland, OR


As a seasoned mother and grandmother who desired to train up subsequent generations using a combination of education and fun, Mary Jo Nyssen has created a series of tales for each of the twenty-six letters of the English alphabet, presented here in this small paperback book. Simple rules with witty ditties for examples show the many sounds associated with single letters, using brightly colored and often visually silly illustrations to emphasize the fun side of education,. Within the book, each letter of the alphabet is dressed up as a memorable character, about which Nyssen creates a short story scenario. Every letter in the ditty that makes the particular sound she describes is set apart by a specific color: green, red, pink orange, purple, or blue. Having predefined colors to set apart certain letters, and showing the common sound they share, draws the child's attention and emphasizes the phonemic lesson being taught.

For a $12 addition to your school shelf or home library, this is a handy tool for helping children learn to read and memorize some of the basics of the English language. This book also helps early readers to practice some of the skills they have begun to master. Bringing joy into the educational setting is not always the easiest task, but you and your child will giggle repeatedly while learning long sounds, short sounds, third sounds, and other basic language rules presented in A Colorful Journey Through the Land of Talking Letters. This clever addition to your young child's curriculum will enforce concepts, reiterate rules, and increase fun while teaching necessary phonemic skill.

Melissa Cummings
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine LLC


This unique picture book features a talking, multicolored alphabet to teach basic sounds, from Andy and his apples to Zelda the zebra.
English has many quirks, but Nyssen's sunny ABC book keeps things simple by addressing only single letters... With characters such as Andy, April, Alma, Grandpa Goose and George the giraffe, the differences in the oft-changing pronunciation of some letters becomes obvious. For example, through "Yolanda the yellow yak," "Lynn" and her "cymbals" and "Kyle's pig sty," Nyssen clearly explains the letter "y" and its mysterious ability to make three sounds and be both a consonant and a vowel. Beginning in simple, sporadic rhyme, Nyssen opts for an alliterative and more effective free verse for most of the book. The real strength is her novel color scheme for letters that shows, for example, the short "a" in green letters, the long "a" in red and its "third sound" in brown... Motz's inventive illustrations radiate charm and imagination, greatly helping to distinguish Nyssen's book from other early reader alphabets.
An excellent study guide with clever illustrations to assist with the basics."

Kirkus Indie
Kirkus Media LLC

Excellent Resource for Parents & Teachers

This book has been a great resource in helping my daughters learn their sounds and learn to read. It has also helped my four-year-old's preschool teacher who mentioned that the children were learning the vowels and said the children were getting confused with "to," as they were teaching the short sounds. I mentioned that I had been using this book to work with my six-year-old to help her understand that letters often make more than one sound. The preschool teacher immediately got a copy of her own. Without this book, I'd have to say, helping my girls learn to read would be much more difficult. It's an excellent resource for parents and teachers.

Joyce Bower
Adjunct Professor of English/Writing at Linn Benton Community College, Albany, OR


This is a great book to help children understand the many sounds of our alphabet. We have used the book during handwriting, reading, and spelling time in my kindergarten classroom. I love the highlighted letters to help the children understand the sounds. Thank you for writing a fun journey about letters and their sounds. A wonderful way to learn phonics!

Kindergarten Teacher

A special reading time treat.

My 3 and 4 year old children love this book. We use it in our homeschool to help teach letter recognition and phonics. It is a special treat the kids ask me to read. Each child gets to choose 1 or 2 letters to read about and then we put it away for next time. Since purchasing this book last year my 4 year old has learned all of her letters and most of her sounds. My littlest guy has learned most of his letters as well. Mary Jo, thank you again for this fun introduction to reading, it is a wonderful tool!

Patricia Tharp
Amazon Review

Engaging and fun for new readers

"I like how vivid the colors are in this book and how the letters really come to life to tell stories that are engaging and fun while also helping children to learn. Great for early readers in the classroom and at home. I love the pirate letter A who starts the book off with "Ahoy!" Letters aren't just letters anymore they are characters that draw kids in to learn more than just the alphabet; they learn to read as well."


Grandkids love it.

"I read this book often to my grandchildren ranging in age from 2 to 7. They all love it. Although the 2 year old listens and enjoys the colorful pictures, the 7 year old reads and understands the different sounds each letter can make. This is a simple way to teach children to read our confusing English language. Thank you, Mary Jo, for this unique book!"

Barbara Hettwer

Granddaughters love this book.

"This book really captivates a child's attention so much that they learn without knowing it. The characters come alive and this way of 'talking letters' is indeed a colorful journey. I bought one for each family and they love it."

Dear Sweet Mother

Colorful and engaging, a must buy for your child!

"This is a wonderful book to read to children. The pictures are colorful and engaging, and every letter has a fun story to demonstrate how you would sound out the letter in different words. Also incorporating poetry and essential vocabulary throughout the book, A Colorful Journey Through the Land of Talking Letters is a must-have in every child's library!"


A wonderful way to learn phonics

"At last, an inviting book for youngsters to enjoy while learning phonics. The illustrations are colorful and fun, and the text is packed with lively rhymes. It is an appealing book for children while giving them tools for reading. I definitely recommend it!"


Fantastic Book!

This is a brilliantly put together book. Being an English major, and parent of two, I have never seen anything like this before. Every book that I have read that helps with the sound of letters comes across as either boring or like it is trying to imprint the information into your child's brain. The approach that this author takes in teaching the young reader, through fun examples of repeating letter sounds helps the child to understand the concept of what sounds each letter can make, without just force-feeding it to them.

Breakdown of the book:
- Fun characters
- Witty use of letter sounds
- Easy-to-understand variations of each letter sound.

I'd just like to put on here, that I have no idea where we came about getting this book (I'm guessing from my child's teacher). But my daughter pulled it off the shelf for us to read tonight and I was so impressed with it that I had to jump on here and write something.

I just want to say to the author: Thank you! Fantastic book!

Luke Glassock
Amazon Review
Beverly Hills Book Award
for picture books ages-4-8 - finalist
Purple Dragonfly award
for Best Illustrations - 1st place