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Inside A Fuse #8 Production

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Six – 2017 Alphabet Books


There’s always one. One sneaky little abecedarian delight that manages to elude my notice when I type up this list. This year it was almost The Little Red Cat, but I managed to remember it just in time. Still . . . I don’t trust myself. Someone’s not here. Can you figure out who it might be? Let’s review these truly lovely alphabet books until either you or I figure it out. You’ll note that there aren’t a lot here today. That’s mostly because alphabet titles weren’t in abundance in 2017, while you couldn’t take three steps without tripping over a counting book. And I probably should have made today a counting book day, but since I lump those titles in with the other math books, it’ll all break out even in the end.


2017 Alphabet Books

ABC Pasta: An Entertaining Alphabet by Juana Medina


Were you as big a fan of Juana Medina’s book Juana & Lucas last year as I was? Well good news! She’s still making books, and this one’s a pip. Hope you like pasta, though, because this text is rife with it. Really, it’s a treasure trove of pasta types from a to z. Haven’t seen anyone do that one before!

ABC Spanish by Aless Baylis


Could it be?  It is! This is the very first book to appear on more than one of my 31 Days, 31 Lists.  You may recognize this Baylis title from the board book list at the beginning of this week and (spoiler alert) there may be just one more upcoming list where it shows up again. See if you can guess which one.

ABCs From Space by Adam Voiland


Aw. Does this book remind you in any way of last year’s The Alphabet From the Sky by Benedikt Gross and Joey Lee? It’s the same basic premise, only instead of sticking quite so close to the ground, Voiland is conjuring these letters from space. Gleep! The book has all the advantages and challenges of Gross and Lee’s, particularly when it comes to the more curvy letters. Turns out, it’s easy to spot an F, but a Q? Hooboy.

An African Alphabet by Eric Walters, ill. Sue Todd


Say hello to the dik-dik! Ogle the okapi. Linoleum etchings are Todd’s weapon of choice, even as Walters tries to balance the lesser known members of the animal kingdom with old favorites. The end result is a board book of true beauty. That said, Monica in the comments here is right to point out that this is sort of generalizing “Africa” and not distinguishing animals by different regions in the continent. Can we get a board books series of African region animals next please?

The Alphabet Thief by Bill Richardson, ill. Roxanna Bikadoroff


I almost considered not including this book on yesterday’s rhyming picture book list because I knew it would show up again today but look at that long nose and those demented little eyes. How’m I gonna say no to that, huh? It’s larceny and alphabet storytelling all wrapped up in one nice little package. Sorry, guys. You’re just going to have to track it down and read it up for yourselves.

The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His ABC’s (the Hard Way) by Patrick McDonnell


So this one time I’m attending a Little, Brown & Co. librarian preview, where the publisher typically presents a list of upcoming books and sometimes reveals a speaker as well. In this particular instance the speaker was Patrick McDonnell and after he gave his talk there was a call for questions. Nobody was particularly inclined to ask him any, so Victoria looked right at me and said something akin to, “Betsy! Ask Patrick a question” (I’m paraphrasing here). Now if he’d been someone like Marc Brown I might have floundered about for a bit, but as it happened there was a question in the back of my mind that I always wanted to ask Mr. McDonnell.  Mainly, the extent to which his drawing style is influenced by old Krazy Kat comic strips. Well! He just lit up when I asked that, and I don’t know if anyone else in the audience appreciated it, but he really had just the most interesting things to say on the topic (and, yes, Krazy Kat is a strong influence). I was reminded of this discussion when I picked up his latest book, which I kind of love. Look at that cat, booking it. Not perturbed. Not upset. Just focused and running for dear life. Plus you get some alphabetical shenanigans, and you know what I sucker I am for hijinks.

Mrs. Peanuckle’s Fruit Alphabet by Jessie Ford

Mrs. Peanuckle’s Vegetable Alphabet by Jessie Ford



They’re colorful. They’re witty. They’re clever. They’re board books, so you know they’ll fit into your pack or purse with ease. I’m pairing them both together because having one and not the other seems cruel somehow. Go on. Give ’em a go. What do you have to loose?

Twinkle Twinkle, ABC by Barney Saltzberg, ill. Fred Benaglia


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – what a clever little idea for a clever little book.


Interested in the other lists of the month? Here’s the schedule so that you can keep checking back:

December 1 – Board Books

December 2 – Board Book Reprints & Adaptations

December 3 – Wordless Picture Books

December 4 – Picture Book Readalouds

December 5 – Rhyming Picture Books

December 6 – Alphabet Books

December 7 – Funny Picture Books

December 8 – CaldeNotts

December 9 – Picture Book Reprints

December 10 – Math Picture Books

December 11 – Bilingual Books

December 12 – Translated Picture Books

December 13 – Books with a Message

December 14 – Fabulous Photography

December 15 – Fairy Tales / Folktales

December 16 – Oddest Books of the Year

December 17 – Poetry Books

December 18 – Easy Books

December 19 – Early Chapter Books

December 20 – Comics for Kids

December 21 – Older Funny Books

December 22 – Fictionalized Nonfiction

December 23 – American History

December 24 – Science & Nature Books

December 25 – Transcendent Holiday Picture Books

December 26 – Unique Biographies

December 27 – Nonfiction Picture Books

December 28 – Nonfiction Chapter Books

December 29 – Fiction Reprints

December 30 – Middle Grade Novels

December 31 – Picture Books

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Sigh. An African Alphabet is surely lovely, but yet another book that implies pretty strongly to young children that Africa is just a place full of interesting animals. Not to mention, probably just animals from one part of the continent though I wonder if that is mentioned in the book — do board books generally have back matter? Where are the board books (or just more books for that matter) to provide more variety about that great and large and diverse continent?

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      I too was, admittedly, a bit put off by the too broad term of “AFRICA” in the title. One solution might be to make it part of a series. North American Alphabet. Antarctic Alphabet. European Alphabet. But I completely agree that we need better board books on the topic. Board books by regions in Africa could be massively cool.

    • Kinda related to that…

      I went to Pitt for my MLIS (and continued to live in the city ten years after). One of the campus buildings, the Cathedral of Learning, has marvelous classrooms that are homages to international learning. They’re really something to behold. To name just a few of the many: there’s the India Room, the Austrian Room, the Syrian Room, the Czech Room, the Welsh Room, the Chinese Room, and the Africa Room.

      That’s right. The Africa Room. An entire continent. In one room. Not the Kenya Room or the Zambia Room or the Madagascar Room. The Africa Room.

      That always rubbed me the wrong way. (To be sure, it’s fabulous, this room – but come. on.)

  2. I love the book Little i by Michael Hall. Would you consider it an alphabet book?

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Oh! You know I meant to take a look at that one this year, but somehow I never got my hands on a copy. Off to put a reserve on it right now! Thank you!

  3. Christina Williams says:

    My almost-2-year-old LOVES Twinkle Twinkle ABC. It was supposed to be a Christmas gift, but he came across it and it’s been on repeat ever since!