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The How, What, and Why of Alphabet Books


Alphabet books display and feature each letter of the alphabet, on one or two pages, in a single book. Typically, each page is illustrated to enhance the text. Often, the illustrations contain images that begin with the featured letter.

For example, in Anno’s Alphabet, the border surrounding the single, major illustration, is a series of black and white drawings of objects beginning with that same letter. The objects are cleverly woven into a trailing or climbing plant.

Alphabet books, by their very nature, are limited to letters of any language. How those letters are used depends on the interests and creativity of the author. The range of application to topics and subjects is wide and varied.


Alphabet Book Topics

Think of a topic – any topic – and you are likely to find an alphabet book on it. A quick browse through your local library’s collection will reveal some surprises – alphabet books you had no idea existed.

Some alphabet books are very much like the alphabet charts you see in many primary classrooms, only in book form. They have an upper case and a lower case letter, followed by a keyword or picture…sometimes, both!

Other alphabet books feature a keyword for each letter on a topic. Yet others contain a sentence using the keyword to highlight a letter. At times, every word in the sentence begins with that same letter.

Alphabet books, depending on their use, may highlight one of the vowels (a,e,i,o,u) to drill the range of different sounds of that vowel in spoken language. You’ll recognize those books by their titles. Others will dwell on a specific consonant in many positions.

You may find alphabet books where each word in the sentence or paragraph may not begin with the featured letter of the page. The letter may be boldfaced or in color wherever it occurs.

Some authors don’t worry too much about alliteration, where all the words begin with the same letter. They may want to use several sentences or even a paragraph to provide information about the object or idea featured for that letter. That’s how they communicate an idea on the subject of their books. 



Most alphabet books are heavily illustrated in color. Some authors prefer black and white. Regardless of color, the illustrations vary in style, as well. An alphabet book might even have pictures instead of drawings to show differences through the ages…to show the history of changes in design.

The sky seems to be the limit on illustration in the use of the alphabet to write a book. Like cookbooks, each year, authors interested in alphabet books seem to produce yet another…to the surprise and delight of many.



Children’s Response to Alphabet Books


Every child will respond differently to each alphabet book. Don’t be surprised if a book you find appealing is rejected by your child. Colors and tastes vary with the individual.


How Do You Plan To Use The Alphabet Books?

Depending on the use you plan for the alphabet book, there’s at least one for every taste. Every year, someone comes up with another use for an alphabet book.

Simply to look at…for enjoyment…because they are beautiful…or delightful in illustration… Fanciful… Realistic… For visual literacy…locate objects that begin with the featured letter.

To develop vocabulary… To teach the sound system represented in written language…in various positions… To teach the colors…or reinforce accuracy… To supplement classroom instruction… To motivate…to attract your child’s attention to books… To introduce your child to a new topic…for information purposes.


How To Choose Alphabet Books

How to choose alphabet books to serve your purpose is the topic that will introduce the second batch of titles of books included in our local library. There are over 500!


That’s why alphabet books are a specialized genre.


Alphabet Book Titles – A

26 Letters and 99 Cents by Tana Hoban. New York: Greenwillow Books, c1987.

A B Cedar: An Alphabet of Trees by George Ella Lyon. New York: Orchard Books, c1989.

A B Cedar: An Alphabet of Trees by George Ella Lyon. New York: Orchard Books, 1996.

A, B, See! by Tana Hoban. New York: Greenwillow Books, c1982.

A--B—Sea by Bobbie Kalman. New York: Crabtree, c1995.

A Is For-- ? A Photographer's Alphabet of Animals by Henry Horenstein. San Diego: Harcourt Brace, c1999.

A Is For Salad by Mike Lester. New York: Putnam & Grosset, c2000.

The A to Z Symphony by Classical FUN Music, Inc., c2003.

A, You're Adorable by Buddy Kaye Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, c1994.

Aardvarks, Disembark! By Ann Jonas. New York: Greenwillow Books, c1990.

ABC by John Burningham. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1967. ABC by Bruno Munari. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2003, c1960.

ABC: A Child's First Alphabet Book by Alison Jay. New York: Dutton Children's Books, c2003.

ABC Americana from The National Gallery Of Art by Cynthia Elyce Rubin. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, c1989.

ABC Animal Riddles by Susan Joyce. Columbus, NC: Peel Productions, c1999.

The ABC Bunny by Wanda Gag. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2004, c1933.

ABC Et Cetera: The Life & Times Of The Roman Alphabet by Alexander Humez. Boston: David R.Godine, 1985.

ABC for You and Me by Margaret Girnis, Margaret. Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman, c2000.

ABC, I Like Me! by Nancy L. Carlson. New York: Viking, c1997.

ABC Kids by Laura E. Williams. New York: Philomel Books, c2000.

ABC Letters In The Library by Bonnie Farmer Montreal: Lobster Press, 2005, c2004.

The ABC Mystery by Doug Cushman. New York: HarperCollins, c1993.

ABC of Canada by Kim Anne Bellefontaine Toronto: Kids Can Press, c2002.

ABC Pop! by Rachel Isadora New York: Viking, c1999.

ABC Pronunciary Waterbury, CT: Vocalis, c1998

ABC Songs Alphabet Sounds Montreal: Kidzup, c2002.

ABC's Of Our Spiritual Connection by Kim Soo Goodtrack. Penticton, BC: Theytus Books, c1994.

The ABC's Of Teaching The ABC's by Jeanne Mattick. Chicago: Students of Success, [198-?]

ABC's & Such Sandy, UT: Waterford Institute, [198-?].

ABC T-Rex by Bernard Most. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace, c2000

ABC X 3: English, Español, Français By Marthe Jocelyn. Toronto: Tundra Books, c2005.

ABCD: An Alphabet Book of Cats and Dogs By Sheila Moxley. Boston: Little, Brown, c2001.

ABCDiscovery! An Alphabet Book Of Picture Puzzles By Izhar Cohen. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, c1998.

ABCDrive! A Car Trip Alphabet Author: Howland, Naomi. New York: Clarion Books, c1994.

Accidental Alphabet by Dianna Bonder. North Vancouver, BC: Whitecap Books, 2002

Achoo! Bang! Crash! The Noisy Alphabet by Ross Macdonald. Brookfield, CT: Roaring Brook Press, c2003.

African Animals ABC by Philippa-Alys Browne San Francisco: Sierra Club Books for Children, c1995.

Agent A To Agent Z by Andy Rash New York: Arthur A. Levine Books, c2004.

Ah! Belle Cite! A B C = A Beautiful City by Stéphane Poulin. Montréal: Tundra Books, c1985.

Alfie's ABC by Shirley Hughes. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, 1998, c1997.

Alfred's Alphabet Walk by Victoria Chess. 1979

Alice and Aldo by Alison Lester. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998, c1996.

Alison's Zinnia by Anita Lobel New York: Greenwillow Books, c1990.

All In The Woodland Early: An Abc Book by JaneYolen. COLLINS 1979

All In The Woodland Early: An ABC Book by Jane Yolen. Honesdale, PA: Caroline House, [1991], c1979.

Alligators All Around: An Alphabet by Maurice Sendak. New York: HarperCollins, c1962.

Alligators All Around an Alphabet by Maurice Sendak. Weston, CT: Weston Woods, c1976.

Alligator Arrived With Apples: A Potluck Alphabet Feast by Crescent Dragonwagon. New York: Macmillan Publishing, c1987.

Alphabears: An ABC Book by Kathleen Hague. Pine Plains, NY: Live Oak Media, c1985.

Alphababies by Kim Golding New York: DK Pub., c1998.

The Alphabet by Kelly Doudna. Edina, MN: Abdo Pub., c2000-c2001.

Alphabet Play With The ABCs Berlin: Tivola, c2000.

Alphabeasts by Wallace Edwards Toronto: Kids Can Press, c2002.

Alphaboat by Michael Chesworth New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, c2002

Alphabatics by Suse MacDonald New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, c1986. Alphabets [S.l.] : Galloping Minds, c2003.

Alphabet by Kathy Page. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2004.

Alphabad by Shannon Stewart Toronto: Key Porter Books, c2005

Alphabet Adventure by Audrey Wood. New York: Blue Sky Press, c2001.

Alphabears: An ABC Book by Kathleen Hughes New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, c1984.

Alphabeasts: A Hide & Seek Alphabet Book by Durga Bernhard. New York: Holiday House, c1993.

Alphabet Art: Thirteen Abcs From Around The World Author: Fisher, Leonard Everett. 1978.

Alphabet Art: Thirteen ABCs From Around The World by Leonard Everett Fisher. New York: Four Winds Press, [1985], c1978.

Alphabeep! A Zipping, Zooming ABC by Debora Pearson. New York: Holiday House, c2003.

Alphabet Book by Dave King. New York: DK Pub., c1997.

Alpha Beta Chowder by Jeanne Steig New York: HarperCollins, c1992.

AlphaZoo Christmas by Susan Harrison Nashville: Ideals Children's Books, c1993.

Alphabet City by Stephen Johnson. New York: Viking, 1995.

Alphabet Fiesta: An English/Spanish Alphabet Story by Anne Miranda. New York: Turtle Books, c2001.

The Alphabet Factory: Firetrucks To The Rescue [United States]: Katzfilms, c1993.

The Alphabet From Z to A: (With Much Confusion On The Way) by Judith Viorst. New York: Atheneum, c1994.

The Alphabet Jungle Game [United States?] : Children's Television Workshop, c1998.

The Alphabet Keeper by Mary Murphy. New York: Knopf, 2003, c2002.

Alphabet Mystery by Audrey Wood. New York: Blue Sky Press, c2003.

Alphabet & Number Rhymes: Reproducible Pre-Reading Books For Young Children by Jean Warren. Everett, WA: Warren Pub. House, c1989.

An Alphabet Of Angels by Nancy Willard. New York: Blue Sky Press, c1994.

An Alphabet Of Animal Signs By Stanley Harold Collins. Eugene, OR: Garlic Press, 1994.

An Alphabet Of Sweets by Marcel Desaulniers. Toronto: Random House, c1996.

Alphabet Puppets by Jill M. Coudron. 1979.

The Alphabet Room by Sara Pinto. New York: Bloomsbury Children's Books, c2003.

Alphabet Riddles by Susan Joyce. Columbus, NC: Peel Productions, c1998.

Alphabet Stitchery By Hand And Machine by Carolyn Vosburg Hall, Carolyn Vosburg. Radnor, PA: Chilton, c1995.

The Alphabet Theater Proudly Presents The Z Was Zapped: A Play In Twenty-Six Acts by Chris Van Allsburg. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, c1987.

Alphabet Under Construction by Denise Fleming. New York: Henry Holt, 2002.

Alphabet Weekends by Elizabeth Noble. Hodder Dec 2005

Amelia To Zora: Twenty-Six Women Who Changed The World by Cynthia Chin-Lee. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge, c2005.

Animalia by Graeme Base. New York: H.N. Abrams, 1987, c1986.

The Animal Alphabet [Burbank?]: G. Drummond, c1985.

The Animal ABC by Leslie A. Baker New York: Henry Holt, c2003.

Animal Stackers by Jennifer Belle. New York: Hyperion Books for Children, c2005.

Annie, Bea, And Chi Chi Dolores: A School Day Alphabet by Donna Maurer. New York: Orchard Books, c1993.

Anno's Alphabet: An Adventure In Imagination by Mitsumasa Anno. New York: HarperCollins, c1974.

Ant and Bee and The ABC by Angela Banner. London: Heinemann, c1966.

Antics! An Alphabetical Anthology by Catherine Hepworth. New York: Putnam, c1992.

Ape In A Cape: An Alphabet Of Odd Animals by Fritz Eichenberg. San Diego: Harcourt Brace, c1952. Appaloosa Zebra: A Horse Lover's Alphabet by Jesse Haas. New York: Greenwillow Books, c2002.

Applebet: An ABC by Clyde Watson. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, c1982.

Apprenons L'alphabet Francais Huntsville, TX: Educational Video, c1991. Arctic Alphabet: Exploring The North From A To Z by WayneLynch. Toronto: Firefly Books, c1999.

Arlene Alda's ABC by Arlene Alda. Berkeley, CA: Tricycle Press, c1993.

The Art of Eating by M.F.K Fisher. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Pub., c2004.

The Artful Alphabet by Martina Jirankova-Limbrick. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, c2003.

Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions by Margaret Musgrove. New York: Dial Press, c1976. Aster Aardvark's Alphabet Adventures by Steven Kellogg. New York: Morrow Junior Books, c1987.

Astronaut to Zodiac: A Young Stargazer's Alphabet by Roger Ressmeyer. New York: Crown, c1992.

Aurora, Brigida Y Carlos by Gloria Fuertes. Barcelona: Editorial Lumen, c1998.

Autumn: An Alphabet Acrostic by Steven Schnur. New York: Clarion Books, c1997.

Away From Home by Anita Lobel. New York: Greenwillow Books, c1994.

A B C by William Wegman. New York: Hyperion, c1994.


Alphabet Books Titles - B


B Is For Bethlehem: A Christmas Alphabet by Isabel Wilner. New York: Dutton Children's Books, c1990.

B Is For Bookworm: A Library Alphabet by Prieto. Sleeping Bear Press, c 2006

Babar's ABC by Laurent de Brunhoff. New York: Harry N. Abrams, c2001.

Babbles To Books: First Steps To Literacy Toronto: Somerset Entertainment, c2002.

Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel. New Milford, CT: Roaring Brook Press, 2005.

The Beetle Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge, c2004.

Bembo's Zoo: An Animal ABC Book by Roberto De Vicq de Cumptich. New York: H. Holt, c2000.

Ben's Abc Day: Photographs By Alice Kandell by Terry Berger, 1982.

Ben's Pens: The Sound of Short E by Alice Flanagan. Chanhassen, MN: Child's World, c2000.

Berenstains' A Book by Stan Berenstain. New York: Random House, c1997.

Berenstains' C Book by Stan Berenstain. New York: Random House, c1997.

Bestiary: An Illuminated Alphabet of Medieval Beasts by Jonathan Hunt. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, c1998.

A Big City ABC by Allan Moak. Toronto: Tundra Books, c2002.

The Birthday ABC by Eric Metaxas. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, c1995.

The Blue & Green Ark: An Alphabet For The Planet Earth by Brian Patten. New York: Scholastic, c1999.

Blue's ABC Time Activities Woodinville, WA: Humongous Entertainment, c1999.

The Boat Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge, 2003, c1998.

A Bold Carnivore: An Alphabet of Predators by Consie Powell. Niwot, CO: Roberts Rinehart, c1995.

The Book Of The Sandman And The Alphabet Of Sleep by Rien Poortvliet. New York: H.N. Abrams, 1989.

A Brazilian Alphabet for The Younger Reader by Patricia Kathleen Page. Erin, ON: Porcupine's Quill, c2005.

Busy ABC by Colin Hawkins. London: Dorling Kindersley, 1996, c1995.

The Butterfly Alphabet by Kjell Bloch Sandved. New York: Scholastic, c1996.

The Butterfly Alphabet Book by Brian Cassie. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge, c1995.

By The Sea: An Alphabet Book by Ann Blades. Toronto: Kids Can Press, c1985.


Alphabet Book Titles - C

C Is For City by Nikki Grimes. Honesdale PA: Wordsong, 1995.

The Cab: The Sound Of C by Cynthia Fitterer Klingel. Chanhassen, MN: Child's World, c2000.

Canada from A to Z by Bobbie Kalman. New York: Crabtree, c1999.

A Caribou Alphabet by Mary Beth Owens. Scarborough, ON: Firefly Books: Brunswick, ME: Dog Ear Press, c1988.

Cats: A Cross Stitch Alphabet by Julie S. Hasler. Chudleigh: D. Porteous, c1993.

Cats: The Sound of Short A by Alice K. Flanagan. Chanhassen, MN: Child's World, c2000.

Celtic Cross-Stitch: 30 Alphabet, Animal, And Knotwork Projects by Gail Lawther. Pleasantville, NY: Reader's Digest, c1996.

Chad Checks: The Sound Of CH by Peg Ballard. Chanhassen, MN: Child's World, c2000.

Charlie's ABC by Nona Hatay. New York: Hyperion Books for Children, c1993.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, c1989.

A Child's Book Of Art: Great Pictures, First Words by Lucy Micklethwait. London: Dorling Kindersley, c1993.

Christmas ABC by Carolyn Wells. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art/Harry N. Abrams, c2002.

A Christmas Alphabet: From A Poem by Carolyn Wells. New York: Putnam, c1989.

Christmas Tree Alphabet Book by George Mendoza. 1971

The Circus Alphabet by Linda Bronson. New York: Henry Holt, c2001.

The City ABC Book by Zoran Milich. Toronto: Kids Can press, c2001.

City Seen From A to Z by Rachel Isadora. 1983

Clifford's ABC by Norman Bridwell. New York: Scholastic, c1983.

Community Helpers From A To Z by Bobbie Kalman. New York: Crabtree Pub., c1998. A Cottage Garden Alphabet by Andrea Wisnewski. Jaffrey, NH: D. R. Godine, c2002.

A Cow's Alfalfa-Bet by Woody Jackson. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, c2003.

The Cowboy ABC by Chris L. Demarest. New York: DK Pub., c1999.

Crayola ABCs & 123s St. Laurent, QC: Madacy Entertainment Group, c2004.

Creatures: An Alphabet For Adults And Worldly Children by Frank Newfeld. Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre, c1998.

Curious George by H.A. Rey New York: Simon & Schuster Interactive, 2000, c1998.

Curious George Learns the Alphabet by H.A. Rey. New York: Houghton Mifflin, p1998.

Cute! The Sound of Long U by Robert B. Noyed. Chanhassen, MN: Child's World, c2000


Alphabet Book Titles - D

D Is For Doufu: An Alphabet Book of Chinese Culture by Maywan Shen Krach. Arcadia, CA: Shen's Books, c1997.

David McPhail's Animals A to Z by Davie McPhail. New York: Scholastic, c1988.

David Wojtowycz Presents Animal ABC by David Wojtowycz. London: David & Charles Children's Books, c1999.

Day Care ABC by Tamara Phillips. Niles, IL: Whitman; Toronto: General Pub., c1989.

Dick King-Smith's Alphabeasts by Dick King-Smith, Dick. New York: Macmillan, 1992, c1990.

The Disappearing Alphabet by Richard Wilbur. San Diego: Harcourt Brace, c1998.

Do Your ABC's, Little Brown Bear by Jonathan London, Jonathan. New York: Dutton Children's Books, 2005.

The Dog: From Arf! Arf! To Zzzzzz Author: Publication Data: New York : HarperCollins, 2004.

Dog's ABC: A Silly Story About the Alphabet by Emma Dodd. New York: Dutton Children's Books, c2002.

Dogs: The Sound Of D by Alice K. Flanagan. Chanhassen, MN: Child's World, c2000.

Dr. Seuss's ABC by Dr. Seuss. New York: Random House, c1963.


Alphabet Book Titles - E

Eating The Alphabet: Fruits And Vegetables From A To Z by Lois Ehlert, Lois. San Diego: Harcourt, c1989.

An Edward Lear Alphabet by Edward Lear. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, c1983.

An Edward Lear Alphabet by Edward Lear New York: HarperCollins, c1999.

Eh? To Zed: A Canadian Abecedarium by Kevin Major. Calgary, AB: Red Deer Press, c2000.

Ellsworth's Extraordinary Electric Ears And Other Amazing Alphabet Anecdotes by Valorie Fisher. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, c2003.

Eye Spy: A Mysterious Alphabet by Linda Bourke San Francisco: Chronicle Books, c1991.


Alphabet Book Titles - F

Farm Alphabet Book by Jane Miller. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1983.

The Finger Alphabet by S. Harold Collins. Eugene, OR: Garlic Press, c1992.

Firefighters A to Z by Chris L. Demarest. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books, c2000.

First Steps: Letters, Numbers, Colors, Opposites by John Burningham. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, 1994, c1985.

Flora McDonnell's ABC by Flora McDonnell. Cambridge: Candlewick Press, c1997.

A Flower Fairy Alphabet by Cicely Mary Barker. London; New York: Frederick Warne, 1990.

Fly In The Sky by Joy Kristin Pratt. Nevada City, CA: DAWN Publications, c1996.

Flyaway Alphabet by Mary Murphy London: Egmont, 2003.

Folks In The Valley: A Pennsylvania Dutch ABC by Jim Aylesworth. New York: Harper-Collins, c1992.

For The Love Of Nascar: An A-To-Z Primer For NASCAR Fans Of All Ages by Michael Fresina Chicago: Triumph Books, c2005.

Found Alphabet by Ramon Shindler. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2005.

A Four-Tongued Alphabet by Ruth Brown. Toronto: Stoddart, c1991.

A Fox: The Sound Of X by Alice K. Flanagan Chanhassen, MN: Child's World, c2000.

Fun! The Sound Of Short U by Peg Ballard Chanhassen, MN: Child's World, c2000.


Alphabet Book Titles - G

G Is For Googol: A Math Alphabet Book by David M. Schwartz. Berkeley, CA: Tricyle Press, c1998.

G Is For Goat by Patricia Polacco. New York: Philomel Books, c2003.

A Gardener's Alphabet by Mary Azarian. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000.

Get Out Of The Alphabet, Number 2: Wacky Wednesday Puzzle Poems by Kalli Dakos. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, c1997.

Gifts For Gus: The Sound Of G by Peg Ballard Chanhassen, MN: Child's World, c2000.

Girls A to Z by Eve Bunting Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press, c2002.

Goodnight To Annie: An Alphabet Lullaby by Eve Merriam. New York: Hyperion Books for Children, 1992

Grandmother's Alphabet by Eve Shaw. Duluth, MN: Pfeifer-Hamilton, 1997.

Grandpa's Great City Tour: An Alphabet Book by James Stevenson. New York: Greenwillow Books, 1983

The Graphic Alphabet by David Pelletier. New York: Orchard, 1996.

The Great B.C. Alphabet Book by Sarah Nicola Morgan. Markham, ON: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 1985.