Once Upon An Alphabet: Short Stories for All the Letters, by Oliver Jeffers; Philomel, $26.99, 112 pages,  ages 3-5. (October 2014)


Bestselling author-illustrator Oliver Jeffers (The Day the Crayons Quit; Stuck) returns with another whimsical and unique offering for young readers. Here Jeffers dedicates an entire story to each of the letters of the alphabet. Quirky, ink on paper art fill the oversize pages with tales of elephants fitting in envelopes, the wonderful applications of jelly, and cucumbers that aspire to swim. The odd vignettes are captivating, amusing, and will entertain young readers time and again. The book may be too long for pre-schoolers to read in one sitting, but with one story for each letter, parents can easily combine which tales to tell, and children will likely have their favorites already in mind.

Alphabetics: An Aesthetically Awesome Alliterated Alphabet Anthology, by Patrick and Traci Concepción, illustrated by Dawid Ryski; Little Gestalten, $16.95, 64 pages, 3-7. (September 2014)

Logophiles, rejoice! As the title suggests, this alphabet book is a series of twenty-six alliterative entries accompanied by illustrations by graphic artist Dawid Ryski, whose structured renderings of astronauts, quails and yuppie Yetis feel at once retro and hip.  Husband and wife design team Patrick and Traci Concepción created such sophisticated little ditties that younger readers may find themselves scratching their heads at words like ‘hellacious’ and ‘gambol.’ Luckily, the authors included a handy glossary. This book is one that parents and children will enjoy, and would make an excellent present to young, hipster parents, design aficionados, and wordsmiths alike.