Animal Alphabet Books

There is probably nothing so universally loved among children around the world than animals. The love affair begins early in life with stuffed animals galore, so it should come as little surprise that animals would have a substantial showing among children’s books as well. After all, finding something that engages and interests your child will make learning to read a much easier task, especially when you are first trying to capture the attention of your kids and to teach them important lessons at the same time such as what happens when first introducing them to the letters of the alphabet.

Animal related abc books remain among the best selling books marketed to children in the world and for good reason – kids love animals. In fact, children love animals so much that many of them seem to identify more with the animals in their lives than the people. This impressive collection of animal ABCs from some of the most noted authors in the genre will spark the imagination, enliven reading time and make your four to eight year old child’s hunger for knowledge even stronger than it already is. And to think, you once doubted that such a thing would even remotely be possible!

Top 5 Animal ABC Books

bembo’s zoo Bembo’s Zoo: To say that author Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich is a creative genius is to understate the talent he displays in this title, a magnificent animal alphabet book. Using the serif letters from the Bembo font family, he fashions a wide variety of animals from A all the way to Z. Stacking, twisting and flipping the letters into just the right forms and further emphasizes the work by limiting the color palette to just a handful of muted tones of black, brown, orange, green and cream. This is a decidedly advanced reader for kids who have at least some experience with the letters of the alphabet.
sharkabet Sharkabet: This is a beautifully executed alphabet of shark species from the angel shark to the zebra shark with an intelligent mixture of existing and extinct species by author Ray Troll. In an early clarification, the author tells his readers that he classifies all chondrichthyans as sharks for the purposes of the book which allows him to include several non-sharks in the montage as well, such as the ray and the chimaera. While not scientifically accurate, steps are taken to ensure that the reader does know which animals are specifically non-shark in the included “Shark Field Guide”. Beautiful art work is the true jewel in this crown!
alphabeasts Alphabeasts: Before you even open this title you will be struck by the amazing impact of the mixture of colors and their use, which is probably a good thing as it may be the only thing holding this storyline together. Masterful illustrator Wallace Edwards has done a gorgeous job with the images even if it seems at times that he took a bit of a break while writing some of the rhyme schemes. Still, what remains is a solid and fun collection of images and text that are sure to liven up a dreary rainy afternoon or a read aloud bedtime story time.
appaloosa zebra Appaloosa Zebra: Jesse Hass (author) and Margo Apple (illustrator) come together to create an animal ABC book that is a must have for any horse lover in your family. Apple’s soft colored pencil drawings are the perfect complement to Hass’ take on the horse alphabet and though eight of the letters are not horses but horse related terminology, there is so much great stuff in this title that it is hard to be upset for such a small infraction. The end pages contain even more wonderful horse facts, historical tidbits and more that is sure to delight all equine fans of any age.
ape in a cape Ape in a Cape: This cute title by author Fritz Eichenberg subtitled “an alphabet of odd animals” sure delivers on that promise. It has the tendency to push the limits of rhyme and common sense at times; thankfully the intended audience of children aged four to eight won’t really mind all that much. The Bear in despair and the Egret in a minuet are just as entertaining as the Irish Setter with a letter and both of them will capture the attention and the imagination of your kids without fail. This winner of the coveted and admittedly well deserved Caldecott Honor Book Award is a great deal of fun to read aloud.

Animal Alphabet Books: Honorable Mentions

into the a, b, sea Into the A, B, Sea: A refreshingly imaginative take on the unique and diverse world of life in the ocean complete with short, rhythmic rhyming verses that take the reader along for the journey to the place where “crabs craw in / and Dolphins spin”. Author / illustrator team Deborah Lee Rose and Steve Jenkins introduce a new species for each of the twenty six letters of the alphabet (except for the always difficult X which, in this case, is a blue Whale’s eXhale.) The lush paintings portray a wide variety of marine life and the end notes clarify that the images do not always mean that the animals depicted necessarily cohabitate.
dinosaur abc: board book Dinosaur ABC: Board Book: The front cover loudly proclaims this title to be exclusively “for kids who really love dinosaurs” and author Roger Priddy means it. Each of the twenty six individual dinosaur species that are depicted within the pages come from a specially commissioned and unique dinosaur model that was created by one of several experts in the field. From Allosaurus to Zephrosaurus each species is treated with equal respect and awe, in much the same way as your kids will enjoy them for years to come. Targeted to the preschool to grade 3 age group, generally ages four to eight.
a walk in the rainforest A Walk in the Rainforest: In what may well be a first for published children’s books, this title was written by a high school student by the name of Kristin Joy Pratt. It is a great primer for environmental info targeted toward the young with various animals and rainforest plants representing the letters of the alphabet along with a short explanation of each. Illustrations are strong and beautiful in watercolor, colored pencil and felt tip marker. Don’t let the age of the author deter you from this title; it is a strong entry into the genre and a sure harbinger of more to come from her.
the furry animal alphabet book The Furry Animal Alphabet Book: Beloved author Jerry Pallotta has done it again with this lively title that introduces a young audience to the wonders of the mammal by asking a series of interesting questions to spur the reader along. What mammal has eyes that are bigger than its brain? You’ll just have to get this book for your kids to find out! Illustrator Edgar Stewart does a masterful job of creating images that neither get lost nor steal the show. The resulting collaboration is nothing short of brilliant as has come to be expected of any of the more than twenty titles that bear Pallotta’s name.
albert’s alphabet Albert’s Alphabet: Albert the duck is charged with a task by the school principal. He is to build an alphabet on the playground by three o’clock but rather than be worried he just gets right to work on the task at hand…or wing. Delightfully executed by author Leslie Tryon and amazingly illustrated, this is an excellent reader that will easily keep the intended audience (ages four to eight) interested and wanting more and even adults may occasionally find themselves rooting for Albert to finish the job before the stated deadline. At the very last minute readers will be amazed at how everything is pulled together!
the butterfly alphabet The Butterfly Alphabet: Co-authored by Brian Cassie and Jerry Pallotta with illustrations by Mark Astrella, this is a beautiful book that runs the gamut of the lush world of the butterfly from the Apollo all the way down the line to the Zephyr Metalmark and all twenty four letters in between. A short paragraph quickly describes each butterfly and the characteristics that make it unique. Airbrushed images throughout create a light and airy feeling that is perfect for the subject matter and is sure to delight the young audience. While not the
cleo’s alphabet book Cleo’s Alphabet Book: Cleo is an adorable and fun loving orange kitten created by Stella Blackstone and Caroline Mockford. In this, the seventh in a series of books about the sweet little feline, Cleo aims to help kids all over grasp the concepts and basics of the alphabet while at the same time following along with her many adventures as she explores the world she lives in. As is the case with other titles in the series, Cleo at times tends to get a bit mischievous (she is a cat, after all), which only serves to fuel children’s desire to follow her antics.
alligator alphabet Alligator Alphabet: Author Stella Blackstone of the Cleo the Cat series shows that she can write about more than just one cat in this enjoyable title that pairs parent and child animals in each of the fun pages from A (alligator) all the way to Z (zebra). Coupled with illustrator Stephanie Bauer’s brilliant images this is a guaranteed classic. What Blackstone may have lacked in inspirational text Bauer more than makes up for with one visually stunning page after another. Overall this title deserves your attention though it may be overshadowed by other works that are similar in the same (or similar) genre.
kipper’s a to z Kipper’s A to Z: Take a load of creeping critters, throw in some jokes and even a storyline and you have the recipe for Mick Inkpen’s version of an animal alphabet book based on the popular Kipper stories from books as well as TV’s Nick Jr. network. From the very beginning – even before the title page – the humor is already underway when Kipper tells a zebra that “we won’t need you till much, much later.” Throughout the book though, the poor zebra keeps showing up such as on the page for N when he asks if it is his turn yet only to learn “No not now! You don’t begin with N”. Fun from start to finish!
the alphabet tree The Alphabet Tree: An enduring title that is far greater than just a run of the mill book about the letters of the alphabet, this beloved book by author Leo Lionni teaches a lesson that goes far deeper and will last far longer than just learning the ABC’s. First come the letters of course, but in this story the word bug teaches these letters to come together and become stronger by forming words. Later the purple caterpillar comes along to teach the words to bind together to form sentences. This beautiful parable teaches a lesson about the power of words in a democracy; a lesson that many adults would do well to learn!
zoopa Zoopa: In the imaginative mind of a child, anything can teach a lesson. The route for the lessons in this case is a simple bowl of tomato soup. A tiny ant, then a beautiful butterfly are the first to be introduced, with the numbers growing and the page becoming increasingly crowded. This causes the animals to interact with funny outcomes all around. The curious collection of critters is at times difficult to identify, which makes the last few pages invaluable, as they identify each included animal with a juicy tidbit of information about each and every one.

Jerry Pallota’s Animal ABC Books

To say that author Jerry Pallotta is prolific is to understate things so severely that you undermine your own credibility, at least among anyone who is family with the genre for which he writes. Pallotta’s titles include a wonderful collection alphabet related subjects from vegetables to flowers, underwater life to animal ABC books, many of which are among the most beloved kid’s books around. These titles are truly worthy of your time and your money and your children will no doubt reward you with repeated readings over the span of several years. Pallotta is truly a gifted and talented children’s author!

the yucky reptile alphabet book The Yucky Reptile Alphabet Book: Is there really a lizard that is larger than most people? You will meet one in Jerry Pallotta’s wonderful title about the animals that many of us love to hate – the reptile. In it we also learn why boa constrictors must swallow their meals whole as Pallotta takes us on a small journey that ends with us realizing that reptiles may not be quite so yucky after all! Add to the inspired text the brilliant and vibrant images created by Ralph Masiello for this title and you have a recipe for alphabet success no matter who the subject may be!
the frog alphabet book The Frog Alphabet Book: In this, the third collaboration between fame children’s writer Jerry Pallotta and master illustrator Ralph Masiello we take a jump into the wonderful world of frogs – or amphibians as they are more appropriately termed. Children will delight in learning about the toad that is as flat as a pancake or the strawberry frog with its blue legs! The perfect combination of information and entertainment that focuses on the subject matter, making it accessible to the target reader in a way that Pallotta has made quite a successful career out of. Plenty of great images and tons of great facts!
the extinct alphabet book The Extinct Alphabet Book: When it comes to children’s books it is difficult at times to capture the attention of the target audience but Pallota has truly mastered the art as the author of more than twenty titles in the genre. In this entry he attacks the category of extinct animals and does so in a wildly entertaining (and sometimes downright humorous) way. With a mix of both old and recently extinct creatures, centuries are literally covered in the few pages of this beautifully executed title that your kids should have on their reading list as soon as possible. Wonderfully illustrated by Ralph Masiello.
the dinosaur alphabet book The Dinosaur Alphabet Book: Jerry Pallotta and Ralph Masiello once again join forces for another award winning title in the genre, this time the topic of conversation is the dinosaur – or more appropriately, twenty six of the most interesting dinosaurs ever! The heterodontosaurus for example, was one of the smallest dinosaurs known to exist, which the megalosaurus was the very first dinosaur species ever to be discovered. Off the wall facts (did you know that some dinosaurs had no teeth at all?) round out this great collection that is full of Masiello’s brilliant and vivid illustrations as well.
the ocean alphabet book The Ocean Alphabet Book: If there is one thing that might be known as one of Jerry Pallotta’s trademarks it would be his uncanny ability to spark the imagination and to create more questions than answers in a book that is intended to answer questions. Such is no doubt the case in this title that focuses on a well illustrated and relaxed alphabetical trip through the warm waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. This time we learn such interesting facts that there is actually a sea creature that protects itself by spraying ink at its enemies in an effort to frighten them away. Ages four to eight.
the bird alphabet book The Bird Alphabet Book: Sure, there are plenty of alphabet titles that deal with our fine feathered friends the birds, but how many of them actually found a bird whose name begins with X? Jerry Pallotta did and his friend and brilliant illustrator Edgar Stewart painted after page of eye catching images to help form another successful and classic kids title. There are also plenty of facts and fun to keep the young mind involved and alert. Everything from the familiar to the not so familiar is here along with a few birds you’ve probably never heard of yourself! Intended for kids, but we won’t tell if you want to read it too.
Sleeping Bear Animal ABC Books

Founded more than a decade ago and not showing any signs of slowing soon, Sleeping Bear Publishing is a force to be reckoned with in the genre. Their animal ABC books are among the best in the business which should come as no surprise to anyone who has picked up their titles before; there are truly no weak books in their wonderful collections. From State information to the animal titles, young readers are invited into interesting and fun worlds to learn valuable and life lessons that will be useful both inside and out of the classroom for the rest of their lives.

w is for waves W is for Waves: Husband and wife author team Roland and Marie Smith and brilliant illustrative genius John Megahan came together to create a one of a kind and truly beautiful book that focuses on the alphabet but does so within the topic area of the ocean. A must for any family with children who love marine life, this includes pages after page of lush drawings and bright colors to grab and capture the attention of even the youngest of readers. In an interesting stretch for term choices, the letter E in this title stands for Exxon Valdez which is entirely understandable given the tremendous impact that event had on the history of our oceans.
m is for meow M is for Meow: Helen Wilbur and Robert Papp have taken the reigns for this adorable journey into the lives of the cat. Full of extraordinary art work and fun bits of information that are intended to both enlighten and entertain, this sister book to W is for Woof stands quite well on its own and complements the rest of the Sleeping Bear titles at the same time. Admittedly, the text contained here is intended quite obviously for an older audience than the generalized four to eight year old reader, but that makes it a great option for story time and a great book to bond with your kids over.
w is for woof W is for Woof: A wonderful dog related title by the folks at Sleeping Bear. This time author Ruth Strother and illustrator Gijsvert Van Frankenhuyzen join forces to create a masterpiece that is worthy of anyone who is a fan of dogs and puppoes. Why it is referred to as an alphabet book, you shouldn’t mistakenly think that it is all about the different breeds of dogs. Instead this time we take a look at what the dogs themselves are doing instead of what type of dogs they are. Well written by a woman who obviously knows a thing or two about the dog!
d is for dinosaur D is for Dinosaur: A Prehistoric Alphabet: Kids and a love for dinosaurs seem to go hand in hand, and so it should naturally follow that some of the most popular children’s books contain information about these ancient giants. This time around Todd Chapman and Lita Judge have done a phenomenal collaboration that does justice to the publisher and to the subject matter. Quite popular among teachers and librarians as a read along title, this is sure to inform and entertain your preschool to Grade 3 children for years to come! At times a bit advanced as far as text, so this may be a good reader for kids as old as 9 or 10.

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