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47 Excellent Alphabet Picture Books

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.

Top 10 Alphabet (abc's) Books

Alphabet Kingdom book
#1
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.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom book
#2
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.

LMNO Peas book
#3
LMNO Peas
Written and illustrated by Keith Baker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Get ready to roll through the alphabet with a jaunty cast of busy little peas. Featuring a range of zippy characters from Acrobat Peas to Zoologist Peas, this delightful picture book highlights a variety of interests, hobbies, and careers—each one themed to a letter of the alphabet—and gives a wonderful sense of the colorful world we live in. Children will have so much fun poring over the detailed scenes that they won’t even realize they’re learning the alphabet along the way!

Twenty-six Pirates book
#4
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!

B Is for Baller book
#5
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!

Poor Doreen book
#6
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.

An Inconvenient Alphabet book
#7
An Inconvenient Alphabet
Written by Beth Anderson and illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

Do you ever wish English was eez-ee-yer to spell? Ben Franklin and Noah Webster did! Debut author Beth Anderson and the New York Times bestselling illustrator of I Dissent, Elizabeth Baddeley, tell the story of two patriots and their attempt to revolutionize the English alphabet. Once upon a revolutionary time, two great American patriots tried to make life easier. They knew how hard it was to spell words in English. They knew that sounds didn’t match letters. They knew that the problem was an inconvenient English alphabet. In 1786, Ben Franklin, at age eighty, and Noah Webster, twenty-eight, teamed up. Their goal? Make English easier to read and write. But even for great thinkers, what seems easy can turn out to be hard. Children today will be delighted to learn that when they “sound out” words, they are doing eg-zakt-lee what Ben and Noah wanted.

Dr. Seuss's ABC book
#8
Dr. Seuss's ABC
Written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Arguably the most entertaining alphabet book ever written, this classic Beginner Book by Dr. Seuss is perfect for children learning their ABCs. Featuring a fantastic cast of zany characters—from Aunt Annie’s alligator to the Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz, with a lazy lion licking a lollipop and an ostrich oiling an orange owl—Dr. Seuss’s ABC is a must-have for every young child’s library. Originally created by Dr. Seuss, Beginner Books encourage children to read all by themselves, with simple words and illustrations that give clues to their meaning.

Alphabet Trains book
#9
Alphabet Trains
Written by Samantha R Vamos and illustrated by Ryan O Rourke
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

All aboard for a train ride through the alphabet! Whether chug-chug-chugging up a mountainside in an Incline train or zipping at super speed in a Bullet train, trains will get you where you need to be—A to Z! There is a train—some familiar and some unusual—for every letter of the alphabet. Trains are used all over the world for carrying people and cargo from place to place. With a bouncy rhyming text, and clever illustrations full of visual cues, young readers will love learning all about trains.

L Is for London book
#10
L Is for London
Written and illustrated by Paul Thurlby
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Discover the best of London from A to Z with award-winning illustrator Paul Thurlby! From A for Abbey Road, K for Kew Gardens, L for London Eye, T for Tower Bridge, to Z for London Zoo and more, this striking book is bursting with the sights, sounds, and energy of London! See familiar landmarks and discover the lesser known charms of the city. London has never been more spectacular!

Books About Animals & Alphabet (abc's)

Alphabet Kingdom book
#1
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.

My First Animal ABC book
#2
My First Animal ABC
Written by A. J. Wood and illustrated by Maurice Pledger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Turn the pages from A to Z to discover this animal ABC! Turn the pages to discover the wonderful world of animals while learning ABCs! In My First Animal ABC by award-winning illustrator Maurice Pledger, kids are introduced to animals from all over the world with letters that start from A to Z. Fold-out pages are included on every page, allowing for even more exploration and discovery. After reaching the letter Z, kids can pin up the included poster for even more animal ABC fun!

Honorable Mentions
  1. Odd Animal Abc's - A is for Alligator, B is for Bear, and so on, right? Not in this book. The odd animals are taking over! It's time to meet Aye-Aye, Fossa, Numbat, Xenops and more curious, yet real animals that are ready for their spotlight. Laugh along as they introduce the letters of the alphabet in their own odd way!

  2. Animalphabet - A wondrous and beautiful A-to-Z guessing game from the bestselling author of Room on the Broom From ant to butterfly to caterpillar . . . to zebra and then back again, Animalphabet is an entertaining puzzle as well as a gorgeous alphabet book to treasure. Who can slither better than a rabbit? A snake! Who can growl better than a snake? A tiger! There are clever hints and peekaboo holes within the artwork that will amaze and delight young children as they learn to use the alphabet. This is a preschool must-have.

  3. Adventures with Barefoot Critters - A seasonal romp through the alphabet features a cast of adorable animal characters who gather honey in the springtime, build cozy campfires in the fall and share other indoor and outdoor activities that correspond with their letters.

  4. The Crab Alphabet Book - With his signature humor and amazing facts, best-selling author Jerry Pallott a offers a decapod for every letter of the alphabet. From A is for Arrow Crab to Z is for Zebra Hermit Crab, young scientists learn about a vast variety of crab species, their body parts, where they live, what they eat, and more. Did you know that the Imocaris is a fossil that scientists believe was the first crab to inhabit the earth?

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