Tag Archives: alphabet book recommendations

abc, three alphabet books

Alphabet books are sort of utilitarian in function: teaching the ABCs, but many are standouts of art, design, storytelling, and other loveliness to boot. I give you these three favorites in chronological order, but please add your picks to the comments!


A B C, 1 2 3:



Bruno Munari’s ABC (1960/ reissued by Chronicle in 2006).


I like the bold, modern design, the big block capital letters, and how each letter often gets more than one corresponding object.








brunomunari-ABC Like how the juggler has lost one dot?

And see that little fly buzzing toward the pink ice cream? It appears throughout the book and plays a crucial role in the very last letter of the alphabet too.

brunomunari_ABC-L I especially like the spread for the letter L (for a Long Leafa Leafa Little Leaf, and a Lemon.)






A Farmer’s Alphabet by Mary Azarian (1981).


I like the gorgeously stark black and white woodcuts all about life on a Vermont farm. Apple, Barn, Icicles, Kite, Neighbor, Yawn. Time may advance, but some things stay the same. Like the alphabet. Like daily surroundings and tasks.




afarmer'salphabet-horseMy poor pictures don’t do these prints justice.




misformusicM is for Music by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Stacy Innerst (2003).


This is one of the first picture books I bought, and it was pretty much purely for the artwork. At first. But there’s more.




m-is-for-musicThis spread! Klezmer! The girl’s giant open mouth! The way you can see the paint on the page!



I like the way it covers more than just names of instruments, but styles of music, bits of lyrics, and even diverse greats like Armstrong, Elvis, Mozart, and the Beatles (with a nice nod to music teachers at the letter M too!).




There’s so much beauty and whimsy in this book, in all these books, that expresses even more than  ABCs.