Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Loveliest ABC Books for Your Little Lovelies (Books. Lists. Love.)

But first......

The See Me Homeschool blog hop and link-up is really underway now!
Yesterday's post was from  Christy at Fountains of Home and today you're invited to see Kathy homeschool at  9 Peas!  

Taking pics of your own homeschool day?  Link up your posts here.

Don't blog?  Not a problem.  Share pics of your everyday homeschool happenings with the #seemehomeschool hashtag!

*   *   *   *   *   *

enough chit chat.  let's hit the books...

In one of my posts about "preschool" and the things I like to have in my home for toddlers and preschoolers instead of a boxed homeschool curriculum (from alllllll the way back in August...) I mentioned that I only allow "beautiful" alphabet books to adorn our shelves and occupy our laps.  A while back, a friend asked what that was all about and just exactly what constitutes a beautiful alphabet book.  Yay!!  (I thought you'd never ask!!)  Of course I want to write about this :)  And... it only took five + months to post it...  Here's to clearing out the drafts folder!!  

If I open an alphabet book and the first page looks like this:

... I don't look further.  I'm not interested in generic clip art apples, monkeys, and xylophones.  How uninspired.  I love looking at alphabet-themed books with my kids and since we use them a lot I really want books that are interesting, unexpected, quirky, or  just plain lovely.  

Here are some of my favorites:


Museum ABC 
from the NY Metropolitan Museum of Art

This is probably my favorite.  For each letter there are four representations of the same word - all of them taken from the collection at the MMA.   I really love this book and feel like it's a one - two punch - ABC's and fine art - no one can call you negligent of your child's appreciation of the fine arts if you have this book in your home :)

from Museum ABC, NY Metropolitan Museum of Art


My First ABC
the baby board book companion to Museum ABC.  Shows one lovely image per letter.


I was first introduced to Dahlov Ipcar when my parents brought us the book, Lobsterman  (which I highly recommend as an engaging, "living" picture book)  back from their vacation to Maine.  She become one of my favorite illustrators.  This book is a collection of illustrations from her childrens' books and artwork.


Eating the Alphabet
Lois Ehlert

Ehlert's collage-style art artwork is always colorful and cheerful.  This book is no exception.  It's a beautiful array of alphabet-inspired healthy eating!  My kids always enjoy picking their favorite fruits and veggies on each page.

from Eating the Alphabet, Lois Ehlert


Brian Wildsmith's Amazing Animal Alphabet

Wildsmith is another of my favorite illustrators.  He's one of those author/illustrators that makes the point that a book for children can have real art - and doesn't have to be cartoon-y - to hold the interest of little ones.  Some of his most beautiful illustrations are those in which he fills a page with birds and various animals.  In this book, it's just one animal per page, but it's lovely nonetheless.

from Brain Wildsmith's Amazing Animal Alphabet


Alphablock, Christopher Franceshelli and Peskimo

This is a fun book!  The artwork is bright and fresh, sort of retro, sort of modern...  (I don't even really know what I'm talking about ;)  )  Each letter is a cut-out and when the page is turned, all is revealed...


Ed Emberley's ABC 

Emberley's illustrations are fun and quirky.  On each page, an animal representative of the letter, creates the letter in four steps.  For example, Pirate Parrots Paint the letter P (while Puffins and Parakeets watch.)  The only thing I don't like/get about this book is that "LioN" is for "N."  Weird.  Maybe "narwhals" and "newts" weren't very popular back in 1978 (original publication year) ????  


Almost An Animal Alphabet, Katie Viggers

I confess, I have not seen this book in person, but we have borrowed Viggers' companion counting book (1 to 20, Animals Aplenty) from the library and it was great!  Her illustrations are sweet and unique.  Her sense of humor is creative and unexpected.  I imagine the alphabet book is just as charming.  I hope our library gets it soon :)


ABC is for Circus, Patrick Hruby

Another library find for us.  I often stay away from themed ABC books, because it's always such a stretch to find alphabet words to suit a narrow theme or concept.  The circus theme in this book works though!  The illustrations are eye-catching - lots of bold colors set off by black and white.  And really, where else are you going to find "C stands for calliope" or "D is for daredevil" ?!?


 Charley Harper ABCs

Classic Charlie Harper - minimalist, beautiful lines, angles, colors, and shapes.  His art intrigues me because it seems so simple and realistic at the same time.  I always enjoy looking at his illustrations, maybe even more than my kids :)  

What ABC books do you and your kiddos enjoy??

Interested in my rec's for the best ABC apps out there??
Coincidentally, I've written about that too ;)

The 10 *Best* Alphabet Apps for Toddlers


  1. Love this list and I want to go purchase all of them. Will be adding to our wishlist! Some seem so beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Would love to try some of these! One of our favorites is A is for Altar, B is for Bible. :)

    1. Oh, I forgot about that one! We used to have it but I think we lost it at church. I hope it's found a home with another great family :)

  3. Love the look of the museum ABC! I have a slightly different criteria (though I love your criteria) but I'm always looking for books that introduce the lower case letters first. Just a 'thing' I have

    1. Interesting! That completely makes sense, since that's typically what's introduced in reading first. Never thought about that!

  4. I made a similar list a few years back, and I'm surprised there are only 2 repeats. With another kiddo starting preschool, I'll have to go search for these new-to-me titles!

    1. Sarah, do you have a link to your list?? I'd love to check it out :)

  5. Well look at that. You and I have similar rules in ABC books. I'll have to check yours out!

  6. You always have such great book lists!!

  7. My favorite ABC board book is The Alphabet Room by Sara Pinto. Flaps for each letter reveal an animal or object that gets added to the room and all the characters use the objects in silly ways. No words. Reeeeeally cute and you spend time seeing what changed each time you turn the page.


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