When you’re looking to submit your book manuscript to a publishing house, you should always read that publisher’s submission guidelines. It just makes good sense.
I recently watched an interview with an editor, and he basically said, “DEAR GOODNESS. Please don’t send me any alphabet books! There are already too many in the world!” This is a paraphrase, but you catch my drift. And if you browse the juvenile section of either the library or the bookstore, you’ll see the action behind his words.
Then again, George has loved the alphabet for quite some time now, so I’m always drawn to ABC books. I’m even more impressed if the author does something more than “A is for apple.” I’m especially enthusiastic if the X or Q are creative alternatives to “xylophone” or “quilt.” Actually, I habitually flip to those pages to see if the book is worth reading.
Previously, I made a list of alphabet books that stretch beyond the norm, but I’ve run across another stack. I’ve delayed this post for awhile, but the giant stack of picture books is consuming valuable coffee-table space. So here we go!
Creature ABC by Andrew Zuckerman
Does everyone know the famous, celebrity-snapping photographer Annie Leibovitz? I saw one of her exhibits at a London museum back in college. She has a talent for showing the raw side of celebrities, even as they do something as simple as stare into the camera lens.
Now, I’m not sure if it’s creatively appropriate to compare one photographer to another, especially if one shoots humans and the other animals, but I have the same reaction to Andrew Zuckerman’s photos in Creature ABC. I’ve never seen such detail on a chameleon or that intense gaze from a lion. The photos are just beautiful. Though, I could probably do without “S is for scorpion.” Shudder.
Alphabet City by Stephen T. Johnson
Mr. Johnson’s book won a Caldecott honor for his beautiful, metropolitan paintings, placing the alphabet within everyday scenes of a city. I think if we all took the time, we’d spot all kinds of familiar letters within the mundane.
ABC: The Alphabet from the Sky by Benedikt Groß and Joseph Lee
This book takes a bird’s-eye view, as from an airplane, looking down upon landscape that happens to showcase a letter. Each page also tells where the photo was taken, much to the delight of my states-loving boy.
A Busy Creature’s Day Eating! by Mo Willems
Dubbed an “alphabetical smorgasbord” by the author of the beloved “Elephant & Piggie” series, this book bebops through a creature’s lunch of apples, berries, cereal, doughnuts, eggs…furniture? He even gets queasy and runs to the bathroom, to be later fed saltines and water by his concerned father.
Animalia by Graeme Base
I literally gasped aloud and continually exclaimed through each page turn of this picture book. The illustrations are gorgeous. Each page or spread is devoted to a letter, such as “Diabolical dragons daintily devouring delicious delicacies” or “Jovial jackals juggling jugs of jelly in the jungle,” and, yes, that’s exactly what’s shown. However, if you study each page beyond the main theme, you’ll see scads of additional objects that begin with the page’s letter. This is why it’d be fun to be both writer and illustrator.
Alphabeasts by Wallace Edwards
Here’s yet another beautifully illustrated book, but this one has a flowing rhyme about animals who reside in delightfully imaginative, Victorian mansion.
A few more…
A is for Angry: An Animal and Adjective Alphabet by Sandra Boynton – Hello again, beloved author Sandra Boynton.
Click, Clack, Quackity-Quack by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin – From the author of Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type, it’s a quick romp through a farm-themed alphabet adventure.
Arf! Buzz! Cluck!: A Rather Noisy Alphabet by Eric Seltzer – I love when an author utilizes the alphabet into an actual story.
Sign Language ABC by Lora Heller – Board book teaching both ABCs and the sign-language alphabet.
G is for Google: A Math Alphabet Book by David M. Schwartz – Definitely more challenging than my 3.5-year-old’s attention span can handle!
What alphabet books do your kids love?