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Great Early Literacy Books for Pre-Readers (4-6)

Four-year-olds can understand longer and more complicated picture books.  They enjoy books about familiar situations, but are also interested in different kinds of families and cultures.  Five and six-year-olds enjoy many of the same books, but they have more life experiences and like books that deal with a broader array range of topics and situations.

As pre-readers get older, they enjoy both realism and fantasy, but may need some help in distinguishing real from make-believe. Simple nonfiction books are appropriate because they are more aware and curious about the world around them, especially their own bodies and how they work.

However, it isn't really the book that builds early literacy skills, its how the book is used.   Please be enthusiastic and get your child involved when reading books together.  You will both enjoy this special time you share together!

This is not a "definitive" list - the value a child gets from a book depends on how the book is shared.  If you have a favorite book for baby, we'd love to hear from you.  Please email us at:  webmaster@clubtnt.org.

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Print Motivation (Pre-Readers, 4-6)

Catalina Magdalena Hoopensteiner Wallendiner Hogan Logan Bogan Was her Name, by Tedd Arnold.  Presents the words--and varying forms of the name--of a classic camp song that dates at least from the 1940s.

Corduroy, by Don Freeman.  A toy bear in a department store wants a number of things, but when a little girl finally buys him he finds what he has always wanted most of all.

Gigantic! How Big Were the Dinosaurs? by Patrick O’Brien.  Explains the names of fourteen dinosaurs, from Stegosaurus to Compsognathus, and describes their physical characteristics, size, and probable behavior.

Hello, Hello! by Miriam Schlein.  Learn how animals greet each other in this fun book of facts.

How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by: Jane Yolen.  Mother and child ponder the different ways a dinosaur can say goodnight, from slamming his tail and pouting to giving a big hug and kiss.

Kitten's First Full Moon, by Kevin Henkes.  When Kitten mistakes the full moon for a bowl of milk, she ends up tired, wet, and hungry trying to reach it.

Knock, Knock! Who’s There? by Tad Hills.  Pull back the flaps and find out each hilarious punch line in this classic collection of knock-knock jokes!

My Somebody Special, by Sarah Weeks.  A youngster experiences the emotions of being the last to be picked up at school.

No Haircut Today! by: Elivia Savadier.  Dominic refuses to get his hair cut, no matter how much his mother wants him to or how bad it looks.

Old MacDonald Had a Woodshop, by Lisa Shulman.  A female Old MacDonald builds a farm in her workshop.

Once Upon a Time, the End: Asleep in 60 Seconds, by Geoffrey Kloske.  A tired father takes only a few sentences to tell a number of classic tales in order to get the persistent listener to fall asleep.

Papa, Please Get the Moon For Me, by Eric Carle.  Monica's father fulfills her request for the moon by taking it down after it is small enough to carry, but it continues to change in size.

Shark in the Park, by Nick Sharratt.  Through his telescope a little boy keeps seeing what seems to be a shark in the park, but by turning the page the reader can see and identify the whole object.

Skippyjon Jones, by Judith Byron Schachner.  Skippyjon Jones is a Siamese cat with an overactive imagination who would rather be El Skippito, his Zorro-like alter ego.

T-Rex, by Vivian French.  A young boy encounters some fascinating facts — and even more intriguing questions — in this lively ode to curiosity.

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, by Simms Taback.  Here's a colorful, fun version of a famous American folk poem first heard in the U.S. in the 1940's

Two Frogs, by Chris Wormell.  Two frogs are sitting on a lily pad and one of them has a stick. The stick, he says, is to beat off the dog. But there is no dog -- yet. So begin the trials of this hapless pair whose adventures build to a brilliant conclusion.

What Are You So Grumpy About? by Tom Lichtenheld.  A collection of cartoons that present various reasons for being grumpy, such as eating "grown-up" cereal, getting a boring birthday present, doing chores, and being touched by your brother or sister.

Who Needs That Nose? by Karen Clemens Warrick.  The reader is asked to guess what a creature is from a description of the appearance and use of its nose. Includes notes on the noses of various animals.
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Phonological Awareness (Pre-Readers, 4-6)

And to Think That We Thought We’d Never Be Friends, by Mary Ann Hoberman.  In rhyming verse that's a deliberate homage to Dr. Seuss, this book is about quarreling and its consequences, and shows how turning fighters into friends leads to greater peace.

Ants in My Pants, by Wendy Mould.  Mother wants Jacob to put on clothes to go shopping, but he wants to stay home and play, and describes imaginary animals that are keeping him from getting dressed.

A Frog in the Bog, by Karma Wilson.  A frog in the bog grows larger and larger as he eats more and more bugs, until he attracts the attention of an alligator who puts an end to his eating.

The Big Honey Hunt, by Stan and Jan Berenstain.  Papa Bear shows Brother Bear how a "smart" bear hunts for honey--with hilarious results!

Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum, by Lisa Wheeler.  After a variety of animals get stuck one by one in bubble gum melting in the road, they must survive encounters with a big blue truck and a burly black bear.

Castles, Caves and Honeycombs, by Linda Ashman.  Describes some of the unique places where animals build their homes such as in a heap of twigs, on a castle tower, in a cave, or in the hollow space inside a tree.

Circle Dogs, by Kevin Henkes.  Circle dogs live in a square house with a square yard, eat circle snacks, and dig circle holes.

Clara Caterpillar, by Pamela Duncan.  By camouflaging herself, Clara Caterpillar, who becomes a cream-colored butterfly, courageously saves Catisha the crimson-colored butterfly from a hungry crow.

Down by the Cool of the Pool, by: Tony Mitton.  Frog and the other animals have a dancing good time both in and out of the water in the cool of the pool.

Jazz Baby, by Carole Boston Weatherford.  A group of toddlers move and play, hum and sleep to a jazz beat.

I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! by Karen Beaumont.  To the tune of "It Ain't Gonna Rain No More," one creative kid floods his world with color, painting first the walls, then the ceiling, then HIMSELF! Oh no--here comes Mama!

Let’s Go, Froggy! by Jonathan London.  Froggy and his father search the house for the mislaid items they will need on their bike trip.

Monsters Party All Night Long, by Adam J.B. Lane.  You are invited to a monster party.

Mortimer, by Robert Munsch.  Mortimer refuses to go to sleep until nobody can come upstairs to tell him to "Be quiet" because they are all fighting with each other.

My Little Sister Hugged an Ape, by Bill Grossman.  Little sister is on a hugging spree, out to hug a different animal for every letter of the alphabet.

Oh, The Places You'll Go, by Dr. Seuss.  Advice in rhyme for proceeding in life; weathering fear, loneliness, and confusion; and being in charge of your actions.

One Dark Night, by Lisa Wheeler.  Mouse and Mole feel afraid one dark night crossing a mush-mucky swamp and a marsh-misty wood.

One of Each, by  Mary Ann Hoberman.  Oliver Tolliver, who lives alone in his little house with just one of everything, discovers that it is more fun to have two of everything and share with a friend.

Rattletrap Car, by Phyllis Root.  Various disasters threaten to stop Poppa and the children from getting to the lake in their rattletrap car, but they manage to come up with an ingenious solution to each problem.

Roller Coaster, by Marla Frazee.  Twelve people set aside their fears and ride a roller coaster, including one who has never done so before.

Some Dogs Do, by Jez Alborough.  When Sid tries to convince his doggy classmates that he flew to school, they do not believe him.

Summer Sun Risin’, by Lisa W Nikola.  A boy enjoys a summer day on his family's farm, milking the cows, fishing, and having fun.

To Market, To Market, by: Anne Miranda.  Starting with the nursery rhyme about buying a fat pig at market, this tale goes on to describe a series of unruly animals that run amok, evading capture and preventing the narrator from cooking lunch.

Very Boring Alligator, by: Jean Gralley.  Simple rhymes describe what happens when an alligator comes to play and won't go away.

What Did You Put in Your Pocket? by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers.  Two groups of animals tell each other about the food and other things that they put in their pockets.

Where is Bear? by Leslea Newman.  The animals in the forest are playing hide-and-seek, but none of them can find Bear anywhere.

Why Do Kittens Purr? by Marion Dane Bauer.  Simple rhymes tell why kittens, bears, kangaroos, and other animals behave the way they do.

Wiggle, by Doreen Cronin.  Rhyming text describes the many ways to wiggle.

Wild About Books, by Judy Sierra.  A librarian named Mavis McGrew introduces the animals in the zoo to the joy of reading when she drives her bookmobile to the zoo by mistake.
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[Books: Babies] [Books: Talkers] [Books: Pre-Readers]
[Early Literacy Links] [Print Resources]
Narrative Skills (Pre-Readers, 4-6)

Arrowhawk, by Lola Schaefer.  Based on the true story of a bird of prey's survival after being struck by a poacher's arrow.

Calabash Cat and His Amazing Journey, by James Rumford.  A Calabash Cat, living in Africa, sets off to see where the world ends.

Cat Up a Tree, by John and Ann Hasset.  With rapidly increasing numbers of cats stuck in her tree, Nana Quimby asks for help from the firehouse, the police, the pet shop, the zoo, the library, and even city hall, but no one will help rescue the cats.

Cat Who Came for Tacos, by Diana Star Helmer.  When kindly Se~nor Tomas and Se~nora Rosa welcome a stray cat into their home and share tuna tacos with him, insisting that he use proper table manners, they find that he has a lesson for them, as well.

Clara and Asha, by Eric Rohmann.  Young Clara would rather play with her imaginary giant fish, Asha, than settle down to sleep.

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, by Doreen Cronin.  When Farmer Brown's cows find a typewriter in the barn they start making demands, and go on strike when the farmer refuses to give them what they want.

Dig! by Andrea Zimmerman.  With help from his trusty dog, Lightning, and his big yellow backhoe, Mr. Rally is ready for any digging job.

Duck on a Bike, by David Shannon.  A duck decides to ride a bike and soon influences all the other animals on the farm to ride bikes too.

Elizabeti’s Doll, by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen.  When a young Tanzanian girl gets a new baby brother, she finds a rock, which she names Eva, and makes it her baby doll.

The End, by David LaRochelle.  When a princess makes some lemonade, she starts a chain of events involving a fire-breathing dragon, one hundred rabbits, a hungry giant, and a handsome knight.

Flora's Blanket, by Debi Gliori.  Flora, a little rabbit, does not want to sleep without her missing blanket, so her family helps her look for it.

Halibut Jackson, by David Lucas.  Halibut Jackson is so shy that he makes special outfits to blend in wherever he goes, but the clothes he wears to a party at the palace only make him stand out.

Hammer Soup, by Ingrid and Dieter Schubert.  Self-sufficient Kate unexpectedly develops a relationship with her new impractical neighbor.

How to Catch an Elephant, by Amy Schwartz.  Provides instructions for using such necessary tools as cakes, raisins, tweezers, and a telescope to catch an elephant.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, by Laura Numeroff.  Relating the cycle of requests a mouse is likely to make after you give him a cookie takes the reader through a young child's day.

In the Garden: Who's Been Here? by Lindsay Barrett George.  As Jeremy and Christina pick vegetables for their mother, they see evidence of animals and insects that have been in the garden before them.

Just Enough and Not Too Much, by Kaethe Zemach.  Simon the fiddler decides he needs more--more chairs, more hats, more stuffed animals--until he discovers that his house is too full and must think of a way to get back to having just enough.

Leaf Man, by Lois Ehlert.  A man made of leaves blows away, traveling wherever the wind may take him.

Leon and Bob, by Simon James.  Leon and his imaginary friend Bob do everything together until a new boy moves in next door.

Miss Bridie Chose a Shovel, by Leslie Connor.  Miss Bridie emigrates to America in 1856 and chooses to bring a shovel, which proves to be a useful tool throughout her life.

On My Way to Buy Eggs, by Chih-Yuan Chen.  Shau-yu is simply on her way to buy eggs for dinner's fried rice, yet she takes the reader on a journey filled with adventure and imaginings.

Photographer Mole, by Dennis Haseley.  The work of Mole the photographer is cherished by his neighbors, but he decides that he must take a trip to discover the something that is missing in his photographs.

The Red Book, by Barbara Lehman.  A book about a book, a magical red book, without any words, and a friendship that develops around it.

Sector 7, by: David Wiesner.  While on a school trip to the Empire State Building, a boy is taken by a friendly cloud to visit Sector 7, where he discovers how clouds are shaped and channeled throughout the country.

Send It! by Don Carter.  Simple text and illustrations describe a package as it makes its way across country, from the time it is wrapped and addressed until it is delivered and opened.

Setting the Turkeys Free, by W. Nicokla- Lisa.  When a sly, hungry fox threatens a flock of turkeys, the young artist who drew the birds must find a way to save them.

Snip Snap! What's That? by Mara Bergman.  Three siblings are frightened by the wide mouth, long teeth, and strong jaws of the alligator who has crept up the stairs--until they decide they have had enough.

Swimming with Dolphins, by Lambert Davis.  A young girl and her mother go to the beach, wait for the dolphins to arrive, then swim, glide, laugh, and swim with them until it is time to go home. Includes facts about dolphins and their encounters with people.

Tracks in the Snow, by Wong Herbert Yee.  A little girl investigates tracks in the snow, trying to determine what could have made them.

The Trucker, by Brenda Weatherby.  Wesley dreams his toy semi-flatbed rig grows big enough for him to have a trucking adventure but wakes to find he is in the back of his father's truck.

We’re Going on a Picnic, by Pat Hutchins.  Hen, Duck, and Goose go on a picnic but have trouble deciding where to stop and eat.

When the Fly Flew In, by Lisa Westberg Peters.  Although a young child puts off cleaning the bedroom because all the family's pets are asleep there, the sudden arrival of a zooming fly mysteriously gets the job done.

White is For Blueberry, by George Shannon.  Encourages the reader to look at objects in nature from another perspective, observing their colors in a new way.

Widget, by Lyn Rossiter McFarland.  A small stray dog is accepted into a household full of cats by learning to "fit in," but when his mistress is hurt, he demonstrates that being a dog is not all bad.
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[Early Literacy Home] [Print Motivation]
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[Books: Babies] [Books: Talkers] [Books: Pre-Readers]
[Early Literacy Links] [Print Resources]
Enriched Vocabulary (Pre-Readers, 4-6)

Actual Size, by Steve Jenkinss.  Discusses and gives examples of the size and weight of various animals and parts of animals.

Alice the Fairy, by David Shannon.  Alice, who claims to be a Temporary Fairy, still has a lot to learn, such as how to make her clothes put themselves away in the closet.

The Camel's Lament, by Charles Carryl.  A poem in which a camel compares his life with that of other animals of the world.

Can you see a Little Bear? by James Mayhew.  A look-and-find book, explore theatrical and circus settings and find the missing cub.

Can You See What I see? Cool Collections, by Walter Wick.  Readers search for objects hidden in photographs of buttons, dinosaurs, robots, shells, cars, animals, leaves, beads, game pieces, and the contents of a junk drawer.

Do Frogs Have Fur? A Book About Coats and Coverings, by Michael Dahl.  Introduces a number of different animals and the type of body coverings they have.

Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too? by: Eric Carle.  Presents the names of animal babies, parents, and groups, for example, a baby kangaroo is a joey, its mother is a flyer, its father is a boomer, and a group of kangaroos is a troop, mob, or herd.

The Flea's Sneeze, by: Lynn Downey.  A flea with a cold startles all the animals in the barn when it sneezes unexpectedly.

I Love Bugs! by: Philemon Sturges.  A boy extols the various characteristics of insects, all of which he loves.

If I Were a Lion, by Sarah Weeks.  A young girl imagines how wild she could be if she were an animal.

Inside Mouse, Outside Mouse, by Lindsay Barret George.  Two mice, one who sleeps inside the house in a clock and one who sleeps outside the house in a stump, follow complicated but strangely parallel paths and meet each other at a window.

Imagine a Night, by Sarah Thomson.  Presents a night when imagination takes over and gravity does not work quite as expected.

An island Grows, by Lola M. Schaefer.  Lava flows, waves pound, sands mound, and an island is born, and as it grows, life thrives.

Monkey Business, by Wallace Edwards.  Space Monkey, an ex-astronaut turned business tycoon, discovers that his company's one millionth product has been inhabited by a bug named Penelope.

My Many Colored Days, by: Dr. Seuss.  This rhyming story describes each day in terms of a particular color which in turn is associated with specific emotions.

Scaredy Squirrel, by Melanie Watt.  Meet Scaredy Squirrel, a squirrel who never leaves his nut tree because he's afraid of the unknown "out there." But then, something unexpected happens that may just change his outlook.

Secret Seahorse, by Stella Blackstone.  A sea horse leads the reader past coral reefs and underwater creatures to a sea horse family hidden in a cave. Includes notes on coral reefs and various marine animals.

Spicy Hot Colors/Colores Picates, by Sherry Shahan.  Introduces young readers to colors in Spanish and English by interweaving images and dance moves.

The Spider and the Fly, byMary Howitt.  An illustrated version of the well-known poem about the wily spider and the luckless fly. Includes an addendum with a modern-day example of why it is best not to trust strangers who offer treats.

Surprising Sharks, by Nicola Davies.  Introduces many different species of sharks, pointing out such characteristics as the small size of the dwarf lantern shark and the physical characteristics and behavior that makes sharks killing machines.

Swan Harbor: A Nature Counting Book, by Laura Rankin.  From sea roses to sandpipers and lobsters, enjoy a look at the 20 countable plants and animals that almost come to life in this books.

Tikki Tikki Tembo, by Arlene Mosel.  In this traditional Chinese folktale, help is slow in coming when a boy falls into a well, since the boy's long and difficult name must be pronounced in full.

What is Science? by Rebecca Kai Dotlich.  A vividly illustrated picture book that points out the breadth and variety of subjects that science encompasses as well as some of the questions it addresses: "So into the earth, / and into the sky, / we question the how, / the where, when, / and why."

When Sophie Gets Angry --Really, Really Angry, by Molly Bang.  A young girl is upset and doesn't know how to manage her anger but takes the time to cool off and regain her composure.
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[Early Literacy Home] [Print Motivation]
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[Print Awareness] [Letter Knowledge] [Story Time]
[Books: Babies] [Books: Talkers] [Books: Pre-Readers]
[Early Literacy Links] [Print Resources]
Print Awareness (Pre-Readers, 4-6)

Bad Baby, by Ross MacDonald.  Superhero Jack finds his life turned upside down by the arrival of a very big, and very naughty, baby sister.

Bear: An American Folk Song, by Kenneth Spengler.  A young girl is chased up a tree by a bear and stuck there until she is finds help from an unusual source.

Big Moon Tortilla, by Joy Cowley.  After her homework is ruined and her glasses break, a young girl is comforted by her grandmother's song and one of her warm tortillas.

Big Sister, Little Sister, by Charlotte Zolotow.  A small girl runs away from her domineering older sister, only to discover how much she is needed and loved.

Family lullaby, by Jody Fickes Shapiro.  A family shows how much they love their baby.

First Day of Winter, by Denise Fleming.  A snowman comes alive as the child building it adds pieces during the first ten days of winter.

"I'm Not Scared!", by Jonathan Allen.  When Baby Owl takes his stuffed Owly out for a walk in the moonlit woods, he insists that he is not afraid of the other animals that keep popping up and making them jump.

Oh, Look! by Patricia Polacco.  Three goats visit a fair but run home after they seem to encounter a troll.

Olivia and the Missing Toy, by Ian Falconer.  When her best toy mysteriously disappears, Olivia the feisty pig is determined to find out who is responsible.

The Prairie Train, by Marsha Wilson Chall.  A young girl experiences the thrill of her first train ride when she takes the Great Northern from the country to visit her grandmother in the city.

Rules of the Wild: An Unruly Book of Manners, by Bridget Levin.  Rhyming text explores how proper behavior for young animals is different from what is expected of young children.

Scribble, by Deborah Freedman.  After drawing a "scribble cat" on her older sister's drawing of Princess Aurora, young Lucy follows Scribble into the picture and tries to set things right.

Something from Nothing, by Phoebe Gilman.  In this retelling of a traditional Jewish folktale, Joseph's baby blanket is transformed into ever smaller items as he grows until there is nothing left--but then Joseph has an idea.

Taking a Bath With the Dog and Other Things That Make Me Happy, by Scott Menchin.  In order to answer her mother's question about what would make her smile, a girl first asks various people, animals, and even the moon what makes them happy.

The Teddy Bear, by David McPhail.  A teddy bear, lost by the little boy who loves him, still feels loved after being rescued by a homeless man.

Tell Me What We Did Today, by Rick Kupchella.  With the simple request, "Tell me what we did today," a child invites a parent to take a little bit of time to talk about all the things that happened since they woke up this morning.

There’s Only One of Me! by Pat Hutchins.  A young girl describes her relationship to the various members of her family, including her stepfamily, as they all gather to celebrate her birthday.

Two Old Potatoes and Me, by John Coy.  After a young girl finds two old potatoes at her father's house, they plant and tend them to see if they will have new potatoes in September.

What! Cried Granny: An Almost Bedtime Story, by Kate Lum.  When her grandson Patrick arrives for his first sleepover, Granny's resourceful efforts to provide him with a bed, pillow, and other necessities result in a sleepless night for both of them.

What Do You Do With a Tail Like This? by Steven Jenkins.  A nose for digging? Ears for seeing? Eyes that squirt blood? Explore the many amazing things animals can do with their ears, eyes, mouths, noses, feet, and tails.
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[Early Literacy Home] [Print Motivation]
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[Books: Babies] [Books: Talkers] [Books: Pre-Readers]
[Early Literacy Links] [Print Resources]
Letter Knowledge (Pre-Readers, 4-6)

A is for Salad, by Mike Lester.  Each letter of the alphabet is presented in an unusual way, such as: "A is for salad" showing an alligator eating a bowl of greens.

A Was Once an Apple Pie, by Suse MacDonald.  A collection of twenty-six nonsense rhymes, one for each letter of the alphabet.

All Aboard ABC, by Doug Magee.  An alphabet book introducing the world of trains.

Alphabet Explosion!: Search and Count from Alien to Zebra, by John Nickle.  Just what the title promises, an alphabet explosion!  18 things in this book begin with the letter "A", 19 start with "H", and there are 37 ways of counting "S"

Art, by Patrick McDonnell.  A rhyming tribute to a budding young artist.

Artful Alphabet, by Martina Jirankova-Limbrick.  Illustrations representing each letter of the alphabet reveal a variety of objects for the reader to identify.

Babar's ABC, by Laurent de Brunhoff.  The residents of Celesteville present the letters of the alphabet, accompanied by words and sentences for each letter.

Bill and Pete, by Tomie de Paola.  When William Everett Crocodile is chosen to be a suitcase, his talking toothbrush becomes his salvation.

Ellsworth’s Extraordinary Electric Ears, by Valorie Fisher.  Photographs depict twenty-six scenes, one for each letter of the alphabet.

Firefighters A to Z, by Chris Demarest. An alphabetic look at a firefighter's day.

Hooway for Wodney Wat, by Helen Lester.  All his classmates make fun of Rodney because he can't pronounce his name, but it is Rodney's speech impediment that drives away the class bully.

I Stink! by Kate and Jim McMullan.  A big city garbage truck makes its rounds, consuming everything from apple cores and banana peels to leftover ziti with zucchini.

"L" is for Library, by Sonya Terry.  Following a friendly tabby cat, children will pounce and prance through the stacks from A-Z as they discover everything there is to do and see in the library.

Matthew A.B.C. by Peter Catalanotto.  A new boy named Matthew joins Mrs. Tuttle's class, which already has twenty-five students whose first names are Matthew and whose last names begin with every letter except Z.

The OK Book, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld.  A character enumerates a great many things that it enjoys doing, although not great at any of them, knowing that someday it will excel at something.

Peanut Butter and Jellyfishes: A Very Silly Alphabet Book, by Brian P. Cleary.  Here's a fun way to Introduce young readers to the alphabet, presenting a short verse of rhyming words for each letter.

A Seaside Alphabet, by Donna Grassby.  Whether it's a treasure hunt on Jewell Island, Maine, a sunny afternoon on the rocks at Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia, or a dip in the ocean on Prince Edward Island, life by the sea is fun. What a great way to review your ABCs.

Z Goes Home, by Jon Agee.  Everybody has a job to do, and so does the letter Z. But when the workday's done, Z goes home.

Zoopa: An Animal Alphabet, by Gianna Marino.  Open the pages of this lively book and discover a bowl of animal alphabet soup sure to spark children's imaginations.

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