Alphabet Books A Step Above The Rest

Updated Feb. 9, 2019

Alphabet books are an institution in the world of children's books, particularly in the board book realm. While no one probably wants to own a million alphabet books, whether you're starting the process early of familiarizing babies with the idea of letters, helping your preschool prepare for kindergarten, or reinforcing what your elementary school child already knows (everyone likes a little confidence boost!), it does help to own a couple. Here are some options that we think are a cut above the average "A is for Apple" variation.

Mrs. Peanuckle's Vegetable Alphabet book
#1
Mrs. Peanuckle's Vegetable Alphabet
Written by Mrs. Peanuckle and illustrated by Jessie Ford
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Mrs. Peanuckle's Vegetable Alphabet introduces babies and toddlers to a colorful variety of vegetables, from asparagus to zucchini. Perfect to read aloud, this vegetable buffet will delight children and parents alike with its yummy vegetable facts and vibrant illustrations. Learning the ABCs has never been so delicious! Mrs. Peanuckle's Vegetable Alphabet is the first in a series of board books celebrating the joy of nature at home and in the backyard, from fresh fruits and vegetables to birds, bugs, flowers, and trees.

Mrs. Peanuckle's Fruit Alphabet book
#2
Mrs. Peanuckle's Fruit Alphabet
Written by Mrs. Peanuckle and illustrated by Jessie Ford
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

I've loved every Mrs Peanuckle book I've read thus far—informative, engaging, and so gorgeously unique. My son adores fruit above all else, so this is our family's current favorite of the series—it has the perfect mix of fruits he can recognize (peaches & pears, bananas, watermelons) and fun new fruit facts to learn (who knew xigua was Chinese watermelon?!) Also, bonus points for being an excellent "accordian read"—if my son starts to lose interest I just skip the facts and only read the fruit names—and for being intellectually stimulating for adults too. This is truly an amazing alphabet book!

Mrs. Peanuckle’s Fruit Alphabet introduces babies and toddlers to the colorful foods that will help them grow up to be healthy and strong. Children and parents alike will want to devour the fun facts and charming illustrations of fruits from the familiar banana to the not as familiar yumberry. Mrs. Peanuckle’s Fruit Alphabet is the second in a series of board books celebrating the joy nature brings to young children at home and in the backyard, from fresh fruits and vegetables to birds, bugs, flowers, and trees.

Jane Foster's ABC book
#3
Jane Foster's ABC
Written and illustrated by Jane Foster
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

SUCH a cute alphabet book! The illustrations in Jane Foster's unique style (did you know she also designs fabric!?!) are simple, bold and brightly colored, and I really like that she has a mix of more common letter/word choices (C is for cat) and more unusual ones (A is for armadillo!)

Introduce little ones to letters in this bold and graphic style board book by illustrator and textile designer Jane Foster. In this ABC board book, children will be introduced to letters by associating them with animals, such as D for duck, L for lion, and Z for zebra.

All the Awake Animals Are Almost Asleep book
#4
All the Awake Animals Are Almost Asleep
Written by Crescent Dragonwagon and illustrated by David McPhail
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4
Thoughts from Mr. Staccato

This is a sweet alphabet book that includes lots of alliteration, but it's not overdone. It's not a book I'd want to read over and over again in the same setting because it's a little bit of mouthful, but the fact that you do have to slow down to read it correctly adds to the soothing tone of the story and it is one I would happily read every day. The watercolor illustrations are soothing as well.

Now in board book format, this lyrical animal ABC book is just right for bedtime--or anytime! From antlered antelope to zzz-ing zebra, all the awake animals are getting sleepy in this abridged board book edition of a favorite bedtime alphabet book, from an acclaimed author and bestselling illustrator. This exquisite celebration of language and nature is perfect for lulling little ones into a cozy, soothing slumber.

Alphaprints: ABC book
#5
Alphaprints: ABC
Written by Roger Priddy
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

I initially hated this book and thought the illustrations were so dumb, but my husband loved it right from the start, and after reading it a few more times I hopped on the bandwagon. Each fingerprint included in the illustration is raised so you can feel the ridges in the fingerprint, which is fun, and the cadence of the book in fantastic for reading aloud.

Indentifies the letters of the alphabet using illustrations of animals representing each letter, comprised of finger and thumb prints.

Arf! Buzz! Cluck! A Rather Noisy Alphabet book
#6
Arf! Buzz! Cluck! A Rather Noisy Alphabet
Written by Eric Seltzer and illustrated by David Creighton-Pester
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

Beautiful alphabet book with sounds from animals! The illustrations in this book are so fun, and there are so many different animals to point out throughout the book.

Moo! Neigh! Oink! Peep! This silly and inventive alphabet board book teaches little ones the ABCs with animal sounds! We Arf We Buzz We Baaah We Coo We Chirp and Cluck and cock-a-Doodle-Doo!

ABC's book
#7
ABC's
Written and illustrated by Katie Wilson
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Applying the tactile features of Montessori teaching, this innovative board book uses lightly grained sandpaper tracks to encourage children to trace various shapes as they enjoy whimsical illustrations of each. Shapes introduced include; squares, diamonds, ovals, rectangles, hearts, hexagons, diamonds, trapezoids, octagons and stars. Sturdy board pages and no moveable parts make this a unique addition to an early learning collection.

Alphabet Kingdom book
#8
Alphabet Kingdom
Written and illustrated by Starla Michelle Halfmann
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-4
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This book is ALL about the illustrations, and boy, are they gorgeous. You don't even have to "read" this one to get everything there is out of it, so as long as little hands won't tear the picture book pages, they can have them full experience all by themselves. Worth noting that it is purely a single letter and then an image of an animal on each spread—no words (although luckily what each picture is is identified on the last page since I could NOT figure out what animal went with the letter N...Nyala).

In this large-format alphabet book, the letters of the English language come alive through the artwork of Austin-based fine artist Starla Michelle Halfmann. Children will learn and marvel as their ABCs become members of the animal kingdom, and adults will appreciate the beauty of this gorgeously rendered wordless picture book.

An African Alphabet book
#9
An African Alphabet
Written by Eric Walters and illustrated by Sue Todd
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

An African Alphabet is a vibrant ABC book that introduces babies and toddlers to the unique variety of animals found in Africa. An alphabet for all ages, the stunning linocut artwork brings an uncommon selection of critters to life in this lively concept book. From aardvark to zebra and all that's in between, little ones will love learning their alphabet with these colorful creatures.

A B See book
#10
A B See
Written and illustrated by Elizabeth Doyle
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This alphabet book is a little different than others that I've seen, which I like. It would be great for a toddler that's a little older and can pick things out! It's a little more interactive as you have to search in the images making up each letter for what the text is describing. The text is also full of alliteration, making it fun but also a little tricky to read. :)

A beautifully illustrated, graphic alphabet book with a fun search-and-find twist. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what’s in a single letter? Everything in A B See! Because hidden in each graphic letter are tiny troves of ABC treasures waiting to be found by sharp-eyed readers. Can you find the apple, arrow, and armor in the letter A? Or the bear, banjo, and bike buried in the letter B? Read along in this unique alphabet board book that asks audiences to A B See beyond the ABCs.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom book
#11
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
Written by John Archambault, Bill Martin and illustrated by Lois Ehlert
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

In this lively alphabet rhyme, the letters of the alphabet race up the cocunut tree. Will there be enough room? Oh, no - Chicka Chicka Boom! Boom! A told B, and B told C, I'll meet you at the top of the coconut tree. In this lively alphabet rhyme, all the letters of the alphabet race each other up the cocunut tree. Will there be enough room? Oh, no - Chicka Chicka Boom! Boom! The well-known authors of Barn Dance and Knots on a Counting Rope have created a rhythmic alphabet chant that rolls along on waves of fun. Lois Ehlert's rainbow of bright, bold, cheerful colors makes the merry parade of letters unforgettable.

B Is for Bulldozer book
#12
B Is for Bulldozer
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This is the perfect alphabet book for little construction lovers! What I really liked about this book is that it has more of a story rather than just showing different construction vehicles.

As children watch over the course of a year, builders construct a rollercoaster using tools and materials that begin with each letter of the alphabet.

Alphabet Trucks book
#13
Alphabet Trucks
Written by Samantha R Vamos and illustrated by Ryan O Rourke
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Truck lovers find familiar and unusual trucks and learn where they work and what they do.

Twenty-six Pirates book
#14
Twenty-six Pirates
Written and illustrated by Dave Horowitz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This is a funny and spunky alphabet book, complete with rhymes that aren't always perfect, and cut paper illustrations that are more edgy than sweet. It's a very fun read aloud and elicits plenty of giggles from my two-year-old boy, who loves this one "again" and "again". Look for the funny frogs throughout the book—they have great facial expressions. Note: I don't believe there is any such thing as a "boy book" or "girl book", but this book does have only boy pirates and has what some might characterize as "little boy humor."

Dave Horowitz’s swashbuckling cut-paper artwork is packed with clever details in this epic companion to his popular Twenty-six Princesses. This rhyming alphabet book is chock full of fun as 26 mischievous pirates head to Captain Frogbeard’s ship where they hope to join the crew—and the fun! From Arty to Zach, the Pirates of the Alphabet are the most colorful crew on the high seas!

A to Z book
#15
A to Z
Written and illustrated by Sandra Boynton
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-5

Serious silliness for all ages. Artist Sandra Boynton is back and better than ever with completely redrawn versions of her multi-million selling board books. These whimsical and hilarious books, featuring nontraditional texts and her famous animal characters, have been printed on thick board pages, and are sure to educate and entertain children of all ages.

B Is for Baller book
#16
B Is for Baller
Written by James Littlejohn and illustrated by Matthew Shipley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Featuring dozens of iconic superstars like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, LeBron James, Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, and Steph Curry, B is for Baller is the ultimate alphabet book for young hoops fans--whether they're taking their first shot at the ABCs or already perfecting their threes! James Littlejohn's words leap off the page and bring legends to life, while Matthew Shipley's colorful, stylish illustrations are sure to delight fans young and old. What started as a successful Kickstarter project from two passionate NBA fans is now the perfect read for little ballers everywhere!

BabyLit ABCs: an Alphabet Primer book
#17
BabyLit ABCs: an Alphabet Primer
Written by Jennifer Adams and illustrated by Alison Oliver
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

BabyLit is a fashionable way to introduce your brilliant baby to the world of classic literature. The tiniest of scholars will enjoy learning their ABCs with a literary twist by reading Classic Lit A to Z: A BabyLit Alphabet Primer. Each letter of the alphabet is presented to toddlers with engaging art and a famous character, place, or concept from a beloved classic work of literature. Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver introduce babies to letters in this board book with help from Austen, Tolstoy, Dickens, Shakespeare, and other literary greats. Jennifer Adams is the author of many books including Remarkably Jane: Notable Quotations on Jane Austen and the popular Edgar the Raven series. Jennifer works as a writer and editor in Salt Lake City, Utah. Allison Oliver runs Sugar design studio. Alison's design portfolio includes everything from logos to packaging and product design for clients such as Chronicle Books, Citibabes, and Aerie. She lives in New York.

So Many Bunnies book
#18
So Many Bunnies
Written by Rick Walton and illustrated by Paige Miglio
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

Old Mother Rabbit lived in a shoe. She had twenty-six children and knew what to do. From Abel, who sleeps on a table, to Zed who sleeps on the shed, help Mother Rabbit tuck a whole alphabet of adorable little bunnies in for the night.

Poor Doreen book
#19
Poor Doreen
Written by Sally Lloyd-Jones and illustrated by Alexandra Boiger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

An Ample Roundy Fish called Mrs. Doreen Randolph-Potts is on a mission: to visit her second cousin twice removed who's just welcomed 157 babies. But when she spies what she thinks is a yummy dragonfly—and is actually bait—poor Doreen is lifted out of the water on a fishing pole. Luckily, Doreen is, shall we say, a wee bit clueless about the dire situation. Kids will love being in on the joke as our oblivious heroine arrives, in a roundabout way, at her final destination. Sally Lloyd-Jones, author of the New York Times bestseller How to Be A Baby, and acclaimed illustrator Alexandra Boiger bring the world of a fish to vibrant, funny life.

Mrs. Peanuckle's Bug Alphabet book
#20
Mrs. Peanuckle's Bug Alphabet
Written by Mrs. Peanuckle and illustrated by Jessie Ford
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Mrs. Peanuckle’s Bug Alphabet introduces babies and toddlers to all sorts of interesting bugs. Perfect to read aloud, this creepy, crawly adventure will engage children and parents alike with its vibrant illustrations and fascinating facts about bugs. Learning the ABCs has never been so bitingly fun! Mrs. Peanuckle’s Bug Alphabet is the fourth title in a series of board books celebrating the joy of nature at home and in the backyard, from fresh fruits and vegetables to birds, flowers, and trees.

Mrs. Peanuckle's Bird Alphabet book
#21
Mrs. Peanuckle's Bird Alphabet
Written by Mrs. Peanuckle and illustrated by Jessie Ford
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

From the albatross to the zebra finch, Mrs. Peanuckle pulls out her binoculars and introduces toddlers to 26 species of birds from all around the world. Described by a single interesting fact or defining characteristic, each bird proves to be as unique and surprising as the one before. Ever wonder why flamingoes are pink? It’s all those shrimp they eat. Are there birds that can fly backward? Yes, but hummingbirds are the only ones! With colorful, dynamic art, and attention-grabbing text, Mrs. Peanuckle’s birds fly off the page, and in some cases, into the parks and backyards of the children and adults reading this book. Mrs. Peanuckle’s Bird Alphabet is the fifth title in a series of board books celebrating the joy of nature at home and in the backyard, from fresh fruits and vegetables to birds, bugs, and trees.

Mrs. Peanuckle's Tree Alphabet book
#22
Mrs. Peanuckle's Tree Alphabet
Written by Mrs. Peanuckle and illustrated by Jessie Ford
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Whether they’re short or tall, pruny or smooth, full of berries or flowers or nuts, the 26 types of trees in this alphabet primer are sure to surprise and delight the youngest of readers (and their parents). After all, trees do more for us than sway in the wind. Did you know incense Cedars are perfect for making pencils? (So we can practice writing our ABCs.) Or that Katsura trees are great for climbing? (So we can discover more about trees!) With playful text, bright illustrations, and pages as strong as an oak, Mrs. Peanuckle’s trees will engage toddlers and take them on an alphabet adventure through the natural world. Mrs. Peanuckle’s Tree Alphabet is the sixth and final title in a series of board books celebrating the joy of nature at home and in the backyard, from fresh fruits and vegetables to birds, bugs, and trees.

ABC Spanish book
#23
ABC Spanish
Written and illustrated by Aless Baylis
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Kids learn the alphabet and Spanish words for animals in this charming book. Pairing each letter of the Spanish alphabet with the Spanish word for a popular animal and its English translation, ABC Spanish is a gorgeously illustrated, engaging read that makes learning the alphabet and Spanish words fun for the entire family. The included pronunciation guide helps teach the proper pronunciation of each animal, making this book a perfect introduction to the Spanish language.

Mrs. Peanuckle's Flower Alphabet book
#24
Mrs. Peanuckle's Flower Alphabet
Written by Mrs. Peanuckle and illustrated by Jessie Ford
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

From the aster to the zinnia, Mrs. Peanuckle introduces very young children to 26 types of flowers from across the globe. For each one, she offers a single defining characteristic, some of them very surprising. Did you know that there are twice as many orchid species as bird species? It's true! Do flowers taste good? Birds, bees, and butterflies sure think so! You'll even find flowers in certain teas. With bold, colorful pages, strong graphic art, and exciting design, these flowers are certain to be remembered by the children and adults who share this book. Mrs. Peanuckle’s Flower Alphabet is the third title in a series of board books celebrating the joy of nature at home and in the backyard, from fresh fruits and vegetables to birds, bugs, and trees.

E Is for Easter book
#25
E Is for Easter
Written and illustrated by Greg Paprocki
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Introduce your brilliant baby to the ABCs with this colorfully illustrated primer about the joys of Easter. In the latest alphabet primer from artist Greg Paprocki, Easter and the rites of spring are celebrated with Paprocki's wonderful colorful and vintage-looking illustrations. Your toddlers can enjoy illustrations of such things as the Easter Bunny, baskets overflowing with candy, children decorating Easter eggs, an Easter egg hunt, and beautiful springtime flowers. Part of the BabyLit Alphabet Series. Greg Paprocki works full-time as an illustrator and book designer. In addition to illustrating several Curious George books, he's provided illustrations for a number of books for Gibbs Smith, including A Is for Atom, S Is for Santa, B Is for Boo, S Is for School, and The Big Book of Superheroes. He began his career as an advertising art director after studying fine art and graphic design at the University of Nebraska. He lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected]!