Alphabet books are a great way to introduce preschoolers to their ABC’s. But not all alphabet books are treated the same. The best ones contain engaging illustrations and story lines that go beyond “A is for apple and B is for ball.”
One of the most well-known alphabet books is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and Lois Ehlert, a classic addition to any preschool library. The book’s fun rhyme sticks with preschoolers and adults alike, making it an easy way to teach the ABC’s. “A told B and B told C. . .”
For animal lovers, Animalia by Graeme Base teaches both the alphabet and exotic animals in beautiful, engaging illustrations. The Extinct Alphabet by Jerry Pallotta teaches children about extinct animals, such as Xerces Blue, a type of butterfly that was once found only in San Francisco. The power of both books lies in their museum-worthy illustrations of animals that children might not otherwise get to see. An A to Z Walk in the Park by R.M. Smith sticks to more familiar animals, but covers more than two hundred of them in just one book!
Alphabet Under Construction by Denise Fleming and The Construction Alphabet Book by Jerry Pollatta both appeal to children who enjoy building things. Fleming’s book follows a mouse who loves to build letters. Along the way, the reader gets to learn all kinds of cool verbs that can be used to describe construction and crafting, like “airbrushes,” “buttons,” and “carves.” Pallotta’s book takes a more large scale approach, featuring construction equipment like backhoes and jackhammers for every letter of the alphabet.
Other notable alphabet books include Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert, which teaches children about healthy eating, The Racecar Alphabet by Brian Floca, and Shiver Me Letters: A Pirate ABC by June Sobel.
All of these alphabet books have one thing in common: they engage children in interesting facts beyond the alphabet, which means they have staying power on children’s bookshelves long after they are out of preschool. It is really in the best interest of both preschool teachers and the parents of preschoolers to check out some of the books mentioned here. However, this is by far not an exhaustive list. Caregivers should also keep in mind the age of the children and pick out books with engaging illustrations in a variety of styles. Sometimes, the pictures can tell another whole story separate from the text.
No matter what your preschooler enjoys, there is sure to be an alphabet book that meets his or her interests!