Kids will have loads of fun with letters and get a leg up on learning their ABCs with these colorful, inventive alphabet picture books. Picture books make learning the ABCs a fun and memorable learning experience for kids—and adults!
Check out this list to find a book whose characters—be they animal, vegetable, or robot—will click with your toddler or preschooler.
Authored and illustrated by Maurice Sendak
In this alphabet primer, a family of alligators take readers through the ABCs. Maurice Sendak's little book is charming, and even though it was published in the ‘60s, it conveys timeless warmth and humor little ones will respond to. Recommended for ages 2 and older (HarperTrophy, 1962)
Authored and illustrated by Andrew Zuckerman
Creature ABC is a lovely book that uses wonderful wildlife photos to help teach the alphabet. This massive book features two photographic spreads for each letter. The first two pages present the letter in both upper and lower case with a portrait of the featured animal; the second spread presents another portrait and the animal’s name. Recommended for kids ages 3 and older (Chronicle Books, 2009)
Authored by Bill Martin, Jr. and illustrated by Lois Ehlert
Kids will be delighted by the book characters' tree-climbing antics. Beginning readers and the read-to-me set will enjoy the vibrant art, the bouncy rhymes, the repetition, and the personification of letters. Recommended for ages 2 and older (Simon & Schuster, 1989)
Authored by William Joyce and illustrated by Christina Ellis
The Numberlys is an imaginative chronicle of a group of friends who create the alphabet in a land once ruled by stuffy numbers. It's a great book for highlighting the process of making art, the getting-your-hands-dirty aspect of creation, and the thrill of discovering new things through work and creative spark. Recommended for ages 3 and older (Atheneum, 2014)
Authored and illustrated by Adam F.Watkins
While alphabet books can be lots of fun for an illustrator, they may be ho-hum for readers -- but not this one! Robots plus noisy onomatopoeia make for lots of participatory fun. There’s even a visual story threaded through. Recommended for ages 3 and older (Penguin Young Readers Group, 2014)
Authored by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Melissa Sweet
This is a short, simple, happy alphabet book. Kids will like its easy rhyming cadence and the engaging, humorous illustrations. The letters with their funny little faces really come alive, just like real bouncy children. And clever examples, silly details, and patterns make each page enjoyable. Recommended for ages 3 and older (Knopft, 2009)
Authored and illustrated by Mike Boldt
123 Versus ABC mixes humor and a friendly competition between letters and numbers to equal one very original picture book about counting and reading. Lively illustrations and snappy dialogue between the rivals provide a fun, engaging experience for young readers and parents alike. Recommended for ages 4 and older (Harper, 2013)
Authored and illustrated by Stephen T. Johnson
From A to Z, each page of A Is for Art presents an imaginative and original work of abstract art, either a sculpture, painting, and collage, as well as a list of witty, and sometimes challenging, alliterative words to demonstrate the sound. Recommended for ages 4 and older (Simon & Schuster, 2009)
Authored and illustrated by Nick Bruel
Nick Bruel's comically cantankerous cat is back with a laugh-out-loud story perfect for both building vocabularies and easing children's trick-or-treating jitters as Halloween night draws near. Bad Kitty Scaredy-Cat rips through four rounds of the alphabet, and each round is zanier than the last. Recommended for ages 4 and older (Roaring Brook Press, 2016)
Authored and illustrated by Dr. Seuss Dr. Seuss turns the alphabet from 52 shapes and 26 sounds one has to memorize into an exercise in rhyming and wordplay. Uppercase and lowercase letters are taken for a spirited airing, matched with an apt selection of fun words, all set in the suitably absurd world of Seuss characters and creatures. Recommended for ages 4 and older (Random House, 1963
For more awesome ABC books, check out the full list at Common Sense Media.
—Common Sense Media
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