Reading with Pearl & Rose: Alphabet Books

The alphabet is, obviously, the foundation of literacy. There are a LOT of alphabet books out there for kids, with all kinds of themes and illustrations. These are some of the favourites in our household. Pearl knows her ABCs now and is beginning to recognize a few simple words. Rose remains largely illiterate.

ABCers – Carole Lexa Schaefer, illustrated by Pierr Morgan (Viking, 2012)

This alphabet book was one we got from The Imagination Library, which delivers a new, age-appropriate book to our mailbox each month. (Thanks Dolly Parton!) It follows a group of kids around the playground, from A is for arm-linkers to Z is for Zzz snoozers. In my opinion, the best part of the book is the map featured at both the beginning and the end, pictured above. It traces the route the kids take through the playground, in alphabetical order. Pearl loves tracing her finger along it and reciting the letters. This was something that really helped her cement the letters and their order when she was first learning the alphabet.

Books by Shirley Hughes

We have a handful of picture books by Shirley Hughes, including several in the Alfie series. Rose in particular loves them (possibly because Alfie’s little sister is named Annie Rose!) Pearl likes looking through Alfie’s Alphabet and recognizing the scenes from other books we have. I find something very soothing about reading Shirley Hughes and the soft, detailed pictures.

West Coast Wild – Deborah Hodges, illustrated by Karen Reczuch (Groundwood Books, 2015)

There are a lot of alphabet books for kids out there and a lot of them are nature-based. What I like about this one is that it shows the natural world that surrounds my children. The illustrations are beautiful and it’s also fun because it uses some words that aren’t quite so common. For example, X isn’t for xylophone (as it is in every single other one of these books!) but for xiphister, a prickleback fish.

A to Z Menagerie – Suzy Ultman (Chronicle Books, 2019)

I picked this book out as a Christmas present for Rose because I love the illustrations. Each page is filled with quirky pictures depicting various items beginning with that letter. There is also a pull-out picture for each letter so the book is very tactile for the littlest learners.

Do you have a favourite alphabet book? Any childhood memories of learning your ABCs?

4 thoughts on “Reading with Pearl & Rose: Alphabet Books”

  1. At what age do children typically know their ABC’s well? I don’t have kids, so these kinds of milestones are always interesting to me! My co-worker’s baby just starting standing on her own, and I was surprised. She was just born in the fall, so I couldn’t believe she was using her legs!

    1. I’m not sure exactly what’s typical. Pearl was recognizing a few letters at age 3 and started trying to write the letter P around the same time and I think that’s pretty average. Rose knows that her name begins with R but couldn’t point to it in an alphabet or write it yet.

      Your co-worker’s baby does sound advanced! That’s definitely early but it’s so interesting how babies develop at different (and totally normal) rates.

  2. As a younger sibling, Rose might pick it up from Pearl. I learned at the same time as my brother who was two years older – frankly because I think my dad just wanted to get the whole thing over at once, so used to include me in his lessons! Ladybird books were the go-to in our family at the learning to read stage, with simple text on one page and a picture on the opposite one – I don’t remember specific abc books but maybe they happened and I’ve just forgotten.

    1. I think you’re right. Rose is already much more confident with her numbers than Pearl was at this age and I think it’s because she’s picked up what we practise with Pearl. I loved the Ladybird books as a kid!

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