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Alphabet or ABC books are some of the first books we reach for when introducing children to the alphabet. Katie has some phenomenal advice on more things you can do to support letter knowledge, be sure to check that out, too. If you are looking for some songs to sing to encourage literacy in your little one, check out Katie’s recent post.
I am on my fourth child and have seen my fair share of ABC books, though some kids love them more than others. Today, I want to share with you ten not-so-average ABC books. Books that are not quite what you expect and met at least one of three criteria:
- My four-year-old requested it to be read more than two times.
- Even though it was a longer book, my four-year-old sat through the whole thing at least once.
- It was interesting enough to grab the attention of one of my older children (ages 13, 11, and 9).
So here they are!
Not Your Everyday ABC Books
These books are great for a wide variety of ages. Most are better for reinforcing letter knowledge than introducing letters. For that, I recommend following some of Katie’s suggestions.
The Other Colors: An ABC Book photography by Ann Cutting, design and alliteration by Valerie Gates – The text in this is alliterative and silly. Sometimes it just plain doesn’t make sense, but there is such rich language that make it great. You might even learn a few words, I know I did! Did you know what color gamboge was? Yeah, me neither.
The Alphabet of Bugs: An ABC Book photography by Ann Cutting, design and alliteration by Valerie Gates – Another book by this duo. Lots of very interesting bugs in this one.
I Love Ohio: An ABC Adventure by Sandra Magsamen- This is a great book if you happen to live in or near Ohio, but there are others in the series, too.
Alphabet Fun: Making Letters with Your Body by Isabel Thomas – This is a great book for kids who can’t sit still, especially if you have more than one of them. Some of the letters take more than one child.
A is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women by Lynne Cheney, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser – This is a pretty busy book that won’t likely hold the attention of the youngest readers, but it is a great book covering a lot of ground in women’s history.
8: An Alphabet by Elisha Cooper – We had a fun time looking for all the animals listed with each letter, though we ran into some issues with K. I wasn’t sure which ones were the kakapo and kudu, I’m not familiar with those animals. Don’t worry, my four-year-old is an expert in all things so we were good. 😉
Jeepers Creepers: A Monstrous ABC by Laura Leuck, illustrated by David Parkins – This falls into the “my four-year-old wanted to read this over and over again” category.
Ape in a Cape: An Alphabet of Odd Animals by Fritz Eichenberg – This Caldecott honor book was a lot of fun. The illustrations are silly and we laughed a lot with this one.
The ABC of Fabulous Princesses by Willy Puchner – This one took a couple sittings to get through it with my four-year-old. I personally found it to be a clever book.
Once Upon an Alphabet: Short Stories For All the Letters by Oliver Jeffers – This is a big, heavy book, but isn’t a particularly long or difficult read. My 11-year-old and I both found it to be pretty funny.
So that’s the list, but I want to tell you about another book that fits with this. It isn’t meant to be a sit down and read in one (or two or three) sittings book, but it is a great way to bring some culture into your alphabet studies. The book is called Australia to Zimbabwe: A Rhyming Romp Around the World by Ruth Fitts. There are a lot of trivia bits and activities to go with each country covered. Be sure to check it out, the dewey decimal for this one is j910 qF547 2015 and our library just got it in December so it is a newer book.
Let me know if you have any favorite, not-so-typical ABC books that you think we should know about in the comments!