Minnesota's Hidden Alphabet

I could say I had a hard time selecting my final Thirty Before Thirty "set in Minnesota" book. I could talk about John Hassler or Patricia Hampl or Carol Bly. I could write a very cerebral review, I suppose--you know, go out with some literary chops.

But I'm a sucker for kids books.

Minnesota's Hidden Alphabet came out in late 2010 to much fanfare, and it's been reviewed in multiple places, so the only thing I can really add to this conversation is another dose of love. Photographer Joe Rossi traveled the wild corners of the state in search of letters etched in the landscape, in the bodies of trout lilies, in the ears of cottontail rabbits. David LaRochelle's text matches up with the photos in clever ways ("Overhead or on the ground, Peeking, sneaking all around, Quietly these letters lie, Ready for your roving eye.") and adds in fun facts (There's a wildflower called butter-and-eggs. Who knew?). It's a book you could read in three minutes or three hours, a book you could read to thirty kids or the single dreamy one still inside you. It's an activity and a meditation. A brilliant idea. And my bet? A Minnesota classic. Thanks, David and Joe!


  1. I love this book. I think it's so creative, and just so darned fun.

  2. Often kids books are the absolute best. If we can't communicate with our kids who can we communicate with? Moreover what is more important?

  3. Me too, Amy. Your earlier review was great! And I whole-heartedly agree, Bill. I've been volunteering with kindergartners this summer, and it's amazing how open they are to the world, how much they notice and retain.

  4. Thank you for such a lovely review of our book, Emily! And I think your "30 Before 30" list is a fabulous idea. I hope you make it up to the North Shore this summer, and if you haven't eaten at The Angry Trout or The Pie Place in Grand Marais, I give both a big thumbs up.
    In case you want to add something to your list (maybe 31 before 31), see if you can take nature photographs of all the letters in your first name, similar to what Joe did.

  5. So glad you stopped by, David! I meant everything I said. One day I will read your book to my future kiddos.

    I also love The Angry Trout and The Pie Place. It's been a year or two since I've eaten at either, but ooooooh, how I remember my slice of raspberry heaven. Thanks for the 31 before 31 idea, too -- I'm pretty sure my list is going to morph into a straight Life List pretty soon. Be well!


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