Cookie Monster is incredibly honest about his alphabet interests. At the beginning of “C is for Cookie” he sings, “Now what starts with the letter C? Cookie starts with C, let’s think of other things that start with C, Ahhh, who cares about the other things?” If you haven’t heard it (or haven’t heard it lately) you should listen to the song, because Cookie Monster’s tone makes all the difference. Some authors of alphabet books are less forthcoming than Cookie Monster. Even though representing the entire alphabet, they seem to primarily care about the beginning of it, the letters toward the end (or the middle) getting short shrift. Compare and contrast the images below (A and then a later letter from three different books), the contrast in the Elmo one is especially striking:
Since my last name comes at the end of alphabet (and my first close to the end) I was excited when my daughter could sing “xyz” before “abc.” She now can sing almost the whole alphabet, although L-M-N-O often sounds suspiciously like “Elmo” (Elmo strikes again!). I don’t think I am the only one affected by my initials. Why? The books above are written and illustrated by Sarah Albee and Tom Brannon (Elmo’s ABC Book), Bill Martin Jr, John Archambault, and Lois Ehlert (Chicka Chicka ABC) and Lois Ehlert (Eating the Alphabet).* They are all great, but I, with an affinity for the second half of the alphabet, particularly enjoy Dr. Seuss’ Dr. Seuss’ ABC and Kelly Bingham and Paul O. Zelinksy’s Z is for Moose (also “meta,” have I convinced you this is a trend yet?), where there is an arc and the end is important. Z even gets two facing pages in Dr. Seuss’! Pictures contain spoilers.
Do you have any great alphabet book recommendations?
*Fine, fine this is somewhat fictitious theory with limited data, Stella Blackstone and Stephanie Bauer’s great Alligator Alphabet is very fair to all the letters.