Looking for ABC books to read alongside your alphabet activities?
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Even though we love doing letter of the week at our house, we’re always sure to mix in whole alphabet activities as much as possible. And that includes reading the very best ABC books we can find! Today I’ve compiled a list of the 50 best alphabet books for kids.
Apple Pie ABC, by Alison Murray
When a dog sees an apple pie sitting on the table, he does everything he can to get a slice. This is a traditional verse brought to life with beautiful illustrations. The book is a great vocabulary builder, too!
A Was Once an Apple Pie, by Edward Lear & illustrated by Suse MacDonald
Here’s another classic verse with new illustrations. Rhythmic, silly word play and beautiful cut-paper illustrations make this book a true delight. It’s so much fun to read! “H was once a little hen. Henny, chenny, tenny, henny, eggsy-any, little hen?”
Alphablock, by Christopher Franceschelli
Thick pages are cut into the shape of each block letter. Peek through to find out what each letter stands for. This is a lovely book with vintage-style illustrations.
The ABC Bunny, by Wanda Gag
The small town where I went to college boasts that it’s the birthplace of this book’s author, Wanda Gag. Back when I began college I questioned whether this was just an attempt by a small town to gain some fame, but it turns out it’s well-deserved. Gag was truly ahead of her time as a children’s book author and illustrator. In fact, this story of a bunny’s adventures was a Newbery Honor recipient in 1934.
Alphabet City, by Stephen T. Johnson
On each page, children find a letter by looking at architecture or sights in the city. This is a great book for children who already recognize their alphabet. They’ll love the challenge of finding each letter!
Firefighters A to Z, by Chris L. Demarest
This firefighter-themed alphabet book is an action-filled story with bright letters to begin each page.
Farm Alphabet Book, by Jane Miller
We like this simple, photo-illustrated book perfect for teaching young children about the farm. It has lovely, authentic photographs with text that is just the right length.
G is for Goat, by Patricia Polacco
This delightful, goat-themed alphabet has terrific illustrations with a simple but entertaining story. Recommended!
I Stink! by Kate and Jim McMullan
A rowdy, raucous garbage truck takes us through the alphabet. This is a favorite at our house, but be warned that the book is a little abrasive for some parents.
The Hidden Alphabet, by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
This is a truly unique lift-the-flap book! Each cut out shows the object represented by a letter. When you lift the flap, you see the entire letter.
The Handmade Alphabet, by Laura Rankin
This is a beautifully illustrated book with a hand holding an object that begins with each letter while also forming that letter with American Sign Language.
I Spy an Alphabet in Art, by Lucy Micklethwait
On each page, children hunt for an object in famous artwork that begins with a particular letter. The book is breathtaking and a wonderful introduction to famous art, but many of the I Spy puzzles are too hard for preschoolers. (M is for magpie!)
Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten, by Joseph Slate
This book takes us through the first day of kindergarten, with Miss Bindergarten (a collie) filling and decorating the empty classroom as students get ready to arrive. An alphabet book and animal book in one, this book has it all.
Museum ABC, by the Metropolitan Museum of Art
This is a truly stunning book with simple objects for each letter (N is for nose) in accompanying artwork. Definitely one to own!
Fancy Nancy’s Favorite Fancy Words, by Jane O’Connor
Nancy loves fancy words, and she shares her favorites from A-Z in this fun book for building vocabulary.
AlphaOops! The Day Z Went First, by Alethea Kontis
This hilarious book had us laughing out loud! When Z declares that it’s not fair that A always goes first, pandemonium breaks loose. The other letters want to go first, too. Soon it’s a free for all! You might enjoy this one even more than your preschooler.
Old Black Fly, by Jim Aylesworth
We love the wacky pictures and sing-song text of a pesky fly who’s bothering everyone in the house. We own this one and read it often.
Olivia’s ABC, by Ian Falconer
This is a simple alphabet board book featuring objects from the popular Olivia books. It’s a beautiful book, but it might be better suited for toddlers.
LMNO Peas, by Keith Baker
We love the cute and busy peas on each page. Such a fun way to highlight the world’s interests, hobbies, and careers!
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
Here’s a favorite that deserves a place on every list of alphabet books! The lowercase letters are climbing the coconut tree, but it can’t hold them all. Chicka chicka boom boom! Uppercase letters rush to comfort their injured children.
Q is for Duck, by Mary Elting & Michael Folsom
Can your child guess why Q is for duck? Because a duck quacks. K is for mule because a mule kicks. U is for prairie dog because they live underground. What a great book for getting kids to think!
If Rocks Could Sing, by Leslie McGuirk
This is a brilliant and beautiful book with found rocks representing objects for each letter. Who knew that so many interesting rocks were waiting to be found?
The Sleepy Little Alphabet, by Judy Sierra
This is a funny alphabet story in which the lowercase letters are pulling out all their tricks to avoid getting ready for bed. We love the rhymes and the hilarious pictures.
Tomorrow’s Alphabet, by George Shannon
I really like this clever alphabet book with each page listing an object that doesn’t begin with each letter… because tomorrow it will! For example, B is for eggs because tomorrow they will be birds. My only complaint is I wish they’d waited until the next page to reveal tomorrow’s object is so that children could guess before seeing it.
Puddle’s ABC, by Holly Hobbie
ABC USA, by Martin Jarrie
This is a simple book with a folk-art style and a collection of American objects, events, and activities. The text and pictures are right at a preschool level.
The Turn-Around, Upside-Down Alphabet Book, by Lisa Campbell Ernst
This is a truly unique alphabet book which you turn on its side, upside down, and to the other side as you read. What new picture does the letter make? For example, J is an elphant’s trunk, a candy cane, and a monkey’s tail.
Eating the Alphabet, by Lois Ehlert
Some of the illustrations in Ehlert’s books are a little abstract for my kids, but they’ve always loved this collection of fruits and vegetables from A to Z.
Max’s ABC, by Rosemary Wells
This is a creative book featuring the popular bunny pair, Max and Ruby. The story begins with ants escaping from Max’s ant farm. A new letter on every page highlights the next event in this fun story.
Work: An Occupational ABC, by Kellen Hatanaka
For each letter we see a new occupation in this clever book with retro-style illustrations. Be ready to teach your child some new vocabulary, with occupations like horticulturist, jockey, and oceanographer in the mix.
ABC T-Rex, by Bernard Most
My kids really enjoyed this book about a hungry T-Rex who finds that C is chewy, D is delicous, and K tastes great with ketchup!
Into the A, B, Sea, by Deborah Lee Rose
This book with stunning collage illustrations and lovely, rhythmic rhyme features animals who live in the ocean.
ABC for You and Me, by Meg Girnis
I was delighted to discover this beautiful book of photographs! Each page has a picture of a child with Down’s Syndrome, and each child holds an object that begins with a particular letter.
Z is for Moose, by Kelly Bingham
This is a hilarious book about a moose who is determined to get to his place in the alphabet show. He impatiently pushes his way onto every page until he finally gets to letter M. But M is for mouse! Thankfully, his friend Zebra lets him join in on the last page.
Dr. Seuss’ ABC, by Dr. Seuss
Some books never get old, and this classic alphabet book is one of them.
Animalia, by Graeme Base
This is a positively breathtaking book that is more like a coffee table book than a book you will read aloud to your preschooler. I remember growing up with this one and paging through it many times, even as a kid in elementary school. It’s a great one to own because the older your child gets, the more he’ll be able to identify in the pictures.
On Market Street, by Arnold Lobel
This a brilliantly illustrated book of unusual shopkeepers on Market Street. Each one is created from his wares! You’ll find a man made from toys, another dressed entirely in playing cards, and a woman in a lollipop dress. Even older children will enjoy this unique alphabet book.
Alphabeep, by Debora Pearson
Truthfully, this isn’t one of my favorites, but my vehicle-loving preschooler enjoys finding and naming the letters while studying all the interesting transportation.
I Spy Letters, by Jean Morzollo
This board book was a favorite of my children as toddlers, probably because I created my own tune for it. They also loved the rhymes and bold photographs.
ABCs, by Charley Harper
This breathtaking board book features incredible illustrations by the modern artist Charley Harper.
Eric Carle’s ABC, by Eric Carle
This is a very simple alphabet book with the letter, a picture, and a single word on each page. My only complaint is that it’s a lift the flap book. Those never do well at our house (at least not for long!).
Harold’s ABC, by Crockett Johnson
Harold returns in this journey from A to Z, where he turns each letter he finds into a new part of the story using his purple crayon. While not nearly as compelling as the original story, this book is still a good one.
Alligators All Around, by Maurice Sendak
I’ll admit that some of Sendak’s books seem a bit weird to me, but we like this vintage book with alligators taking us through the alphabet. Whether “bursting balloons” or “throwing tantrums,” it’s full of things kids can relate to. (Beware, however, that letter I’s verse, “Imitating Indians,” isn’t exactly politically correct.)
Bad Kitty, by Nick Bruel
A naughty cat (who is angry because his owners only have fruits and vegetables left in the house) destroys the house from A-Z. He makes amends at the end, but some will dislike this book because of the cat’s behavior. I’m very careful about the books we read, but we like this one.
A to Z, by Sandra Boynton
You simply can’t go wrong with a Boynton book, and this collection of her silly animals doesn’t disappoint.
The Alphabet Book, by P.D. Eastman
I’ve always loved P.D. Eastman’s illustrations, so this simple alphabet book is another winner for us.
Animal Alphabet, by by Alex Lluch
I make it a general rule not to allow interactive picture books in our house if they are from the library. Inevitably a toddler will have his or her way with it. But this durable board book was a fun surprise! Slide each animal’s backside to reveal the entire animal after reading the letter’s name. A creative concept in a toddler-proof book. Love it!
Paul Thurlby’s Alphabet, by Paul Thurlby
I adore the vintage style of this unique alphabet book, and my kids and I had fun seeing how Thurlby incorporates the shapes of the letters into into objects. Highly recommended!
Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks from A to Z, by Richard Scarry
We’re fans of nearly every Richard Scarry book, so we enjoyed this board book featuring Scarry’s loveable cast of characters and unique modes of transportation.
Alphabeasties and Other Amazing Types, by Sharon Werner
Just when you think there can’t possibly be a new type of alphabet book, you find this one – where the illustrator has designed each animal using the letter it begins with. Not only is this a gorgeous and unique book, but it also introduces kids to typography.
A is for Salad, by Mike Lester
Here’s another alphabet book that will get kids to think. Of course A isn’t for salad, but it’s for the alligator eating it! Is a B for viking? No, but it is for the beaver who’s wearing the Viking helmet. We appreciate the sophisticated humor for young listeners. And the pictures are great!
Did you know?
My preschool curriculum for learning the alphabet has countless whole alphabet activities, including a printable list of alphabet books. You won’t believe the variety or the price of this comprehensive resource!
© 2015, Anna Geiger. All rights reserved.