Book Review: The ABCs of Amsterdam

November 30, 2021 By Média Donyadari-van Westering 0 Comments

Want to explore the quirky beauty of Amsterdam while also teaching the alphabet? This has been made much easier thanks to The ABCs of Amsterdam by Paola Bucciol. Adults will also enjoy this introduction to a wonderful city.

An alphabetical guide to the city of Amsterdam, this book has been written cleverly and beautifully to teach children about one of the most famous European capitals. With every alphabet not only you learn a word but you also learn some fun facts and figures about Amsterdam, a bit of Dutch culture and even a bit of history. It can be a book to read out for younger ones and even a nice simple book for children who learn to read English, to read it on their own. 


What I really liked about the book was introducing this magical city through an alphabetic game. With simple words which are also key words to this beautiful city, it makes it easier for children to learn about a place. For those kids who are living in this city or were even born here, this is a good way of learning their alphabets and for children abroad who are not familiar with Amsterdam, this is a great city guide. When I asked my son what he thought of the book, he said “really nice”. 

While I liked all the words and facts in the book, my favorite one is J for Jordaan. The most charming district of the city and the image in the book is one of my top favorites spots of the Jordaan where for years I walked past every day. 

One thing which is a little confusing is the mixed use of English & Dutch words with alphabets. With specific names, I can understand if a Dutch word is used, however when you start the ABC with English words, it does confuse a child to suddenly come to a word such as ‘Eetcafe’ for letter ‘E’. I could see the puzzlement in my son’s face too when he was reading it. 

Also something which I hope the author will take into consideration for the future prints is editing the wrong suggestion of pronunciation of the Dutch words ‘Gezellig’ and ‘IJ’ because what is currently in there, is not correct. 

Having said that, this is overall a great book and I’m very happy that the next time I want to send a book about Amsterdam to my friends' children around the world, I don’t have to to end up with a translated book from Dutch but rather have something original.


Amsterdam Mamas received a free copy of this book in exchange for our honest review.

Originally from Iran, Média is married and is proud mother of a lovely boy. She holds a BA in English Translation and an MBA with the University of Liverpool. She works in online higher education, volunteers for AM & is passionate about sustainability. She also loves traveling, cooking, reading, writing and photography. You can follow her Instagram page for food inspiration! 

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