H.I.P., A.B.C.!

A new picture book called The Tragically Hip ABC will introduce kids to the alphabet by way of one of Canada's most famous bands
The cover of the new ABC book, which will be released October 24, 2023. (Tundra Books)

When you're a young kid, learning your ABCs is a big deal!

Can you remember the book that first introduced you to the alphabet? Do you remember what it was about?

Parents and relatives love to buy ABC books for kids on topics that mean a lot to them. It's a way of passing on a tradition or some joy. That's why you can find an ABC on everything from cooking and culture to sports teams and rainforest critters.

And in October, a new alphabet book is going to be all about one of Canada's most popular ever rock bands: The Tragically Hip.

Called The Tragically Hip ABC, it will reference many of the Hip's songs and feature artwork from four of the country's most acclaimed artists, Julia Breckenreid, Bridget George, Clayton Hanmer, and Monika Melnychuk. See?

Would you like to read the poetry that these beavers are writing? Us, too! (Tundra Books)

We think it looks like so much fun!

Who were The Hip?

Embed from Getty Images

The Tragically Hip's lead singer, Gord Downie, performs in 2016 during the band's final tour. (Getty Images)

The Tragically Hip were a rock band from Kingston, Ontario that lasted for 33 years, from 1984 to 2017. They released thirteen records and toured the world. But for many Canadians, they were a lot more than just a rock band.

That's because the band's lead singer, Gord Downie, wrote song lyrics that spoke a lot about Canada. He sang about Canadian towns and cities and regions. He sang about Canadian pastimes, especially hockey. And he sang about Canadian artists, personalities, and experiences.

Maybe most of all, he did all of these things with a little bit of mystery and curiosity. Their songs explored Canada without just glorifying it.

When it was publicly announced in 2016 that Downie had a rare form of cancer, the band put on one last national tour. Their final concert—on August 20, 2016 in Kingston—was broadcast across Canada by the CBC. It was watched by 11.7 million people, or one-third of the country.

Downie died on October 17, 2017 and was mourned across Canada, including by Prime Minister Trudeau.

Amazing art

Does this polar bear's outfit look familiar? (Tundra Books)

Downie and his band's music are still revered today. Which is why so many people are excited about this new book!

The band's lead guitarist, Rob Baker, had this to say about The Tragically Hip ABC: "This book is a sweet surprise full of gorgeous illustrations. If it can excite some kids about reading, art, nature, or music, then we are delighted and proud."

We here at OWLconnected agree with him. Especially about the artwork!

The illustrator of this page is Clayton Hanmer, who has worked on our magazines and books for many years. Yay, Clayton! (Tundra Books)

The list of illustrators in this book include many people who have worked on OWL and Chickadee magazines, as well as on Owlkids Books.

One of them in particular, Clayton Hanmer, drew OWL's main character, Hoot, for many years and regularly did comics, puzzles, and mazes for our readers to enjoy.

We're so proud of everyone involved and can't wait to read the book ourselves!

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