Kathy Weeden: Hi, I'm Kathy, and I wrote "Phonobet", because I wanted to help kids explore their voices, and view it as the instrument they use to sing their language.

I'm going to read it to you now.

I'm sure you've met the alphabet, our very tidy friend, with A at the beginning, and Z right at the end.

It's nice and neat and works a treat for every writing need, except for one small problem, it's a little hard to read.

There are letters that behave themselves with one main sound to each, like D for dog and dinosaur, and B for bat and beach.

But some are far more cunning, like the A in catch and caught, the O in owl and ox and oat, or U in funny thought.

So is it just a muddled mess we have to learn by heart, or does our good old alphabet have friends who play a part?

Come and meet the Phonobet, a very handy twin, a set of all the sounds you use when waggling your chin.

Beginning with the consonants, they number 24, depending on your accent, maybe fewer, maybe more.

Fff-th-ss-shh, and huhh are rustling trees.

Vv-th-zzz-zhh, a hive of buzzing bees.

Peh-teh-che-keh, a train along a track.

Buh-duh-juh-guh, drum with a bang and a whack.

Wuh-ul-er-yuh, the sound of robots talking.

Mm-nn-ng, humming nannas going walking.

Moving onto vowels, roughly 20 here, in all.

Your mouth and lips and tongue in shapes, big, as well as small.

Ah-eh-ee-o-ah-ooh, sound like monkeys, short and sweet.

While ar-or-er are zombies groaning on the street.

A smiley pirate greets us, ay and ee and igh and oy.

But ow-oh-ooh, that's a very grumpy boy.

Which leaves us with the random smelly ear and air and ure, from yucky stinky words like earwax, hair, and fresh manure.

And, just one more.

The sneaky schwa, the shruggish uh that hides in all the lazy bits of words like button and besides.

So once you know your phonabet, I'm certain that you'll find a wacky world of wonder words with sounds of every kind.

The sounds are yours to say and sing, and twist and taste and chew.

And then what should you do with them?

Well, that's up to you.

Join author Kathy Weeden as she reads her book 'Phonobet', illustrated by Kim Drane and published by the National Library.

'Phonobet' is a modern-day, Australian answer to Dr Seuss’s ABC. This very clever rhyming text takes an onomatopoeic romp through the 44 phonemes of Australian (and British) English, comparing sounds to trees, bees, trains, robots, monkeys, pirates and more. The text aligns with primary-school phonics programs and could be used by educators in this field, but is equally successful as a fun read-aloud book for parents of 4- to 6-year-olds.

Buy it now