Publishing: Hartcourt Brace Jovanovich Publishers, San Diego, 1989
Description: This alphabet book goes through the names of fruits and vegetables that start with each letter, from “Apple to Zucchini”. The pictured fruits and vegetables are large and bright, very engaging.
Programming: Teach the alphabet, or teach the names of fruits and vegetables. Have students sort some of them into categories (for young children it might be easier to skip the ordeal with tomatoes or anything they’re unfamiliar with). If possible, have a tasting session so that students can see some of what’s being presented (again, some of the items would not be appropriate here, but most of the fruits would).
Publishing: Viking, New York, 1972.
Awards: 1973 Caldecott Honor
Description: This alphabet book goes through all sorts of different living things, from protozoa to a vulture to a heron. (I’m not sure how the gargoyle, unicorn or demon fit in though…) Each verso has text of a varying size and font, in a different placement. The accompanying recto has an illustration of the object done in watercolor. Some are full-page, others are not. Some of the objects have adjectives in front of them: “ghastly, garrulous gargoyle” etc. Others do not. I did some very quick searching but am still unclear on “Hosie’s Heron.” Is this a specific breed? A nickname? I’ll have to figure it out before using this book.
Programming: typical alphabet tie-in, possibly good for teaching adjectives, good for talking about different types of animals. Have students create their own alphabet letters with animals they drew?
Publishing: Viking, New York, 1995
Awards: Caldecott Honor
Description: Johnson has a play on the typical alphabet books by using “found” objects and scenes with the letters hidden in them. All of them are urban scenes.
Programming: I think this would be a great book to use to review the alphabet with a class that has already learned it. Taking the time to ask students what the letter looks like first and then having them explain or trace the letter in the picture would help to reinforce the concept.
Publishing: Puffin, New York, 2006.
Description: This alphabet book is cleverly themed around goats. For example, the “b” is for billy goat, “v” is for “vet” and “k” is for kid.
Programming: This would be good for a unit about farms, farm animals, or just to mix into a class who is first learning their ABCs because it centers around a specific topic.
Publishing: Beach Lane Books, New York, 2010
Description: This adorable little ABC book shows peas doing a variety of things around large letters in the background. The alphabet is the focus, and the text has a pleasant rhythm.
Programming: This would be a great choice for a preschool or kindergarten class learning their ABCs. It could be read at the beginning before learning all of the letters individually, or at the end to review. Students might draw the peas doing something and label it using the right letter. For example, a student might say, “This pea is teaching. And teaching starts with the letter T.” etc.