I just "read" Steven T. Johnson's Alphabet City to my 3-month old (the quotes are because there are no words, only pictures, and of course, I'm lucky if I sound like Charlie Brown's teacher to her at this point), which got me thinking about, well, about Lynne Cheney. Cheney put out an alphabet book called America: A Patriotic Primer that teaches all sorts of generic civics lessons conservatives think liberals will hate.
So, I wondered, what else do people try to teach their kids under the guise of teaching them their ABC's? Here's a partial list, in no particular order (until the last ones):
A is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women, also from Lynne Cheney
A is for Adam: The Gospel from Genesis, by Ken and Mally Hamm
D is for Dinosaur, also by the Hamms. C, presumably, is for Creationism.
A is for Allah, by Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens), there's also a double CD
A is for Artist: A Getty Museum Alphabet . illustrates each letter with paintings from the collection.
G is for Googol: A Math Alphabet Book by David Schwartz and Melissa Moss
A is for Adopted by Eileen Tucker Cosby
N is for No Smoking...please a slightly more fed up title, also by Cosby
A is for Africa, by Ifeoma Onyefulu
A is for Angry: An Animal and Adjective Alphabet, by Sandra Boynton
D is for Doufu: An Alphabet Book of Chinese Culture, by Maywan Shen Krach
D is for Dreidel: A Hanukkah Alphabet Book, by the not-that-Jewish-sounding Tanya Lee Stone
A is for Salad, by Mike Lester (not for dyslexics, it's like Where's Waldo? with letters)
ABC A Family Alphabet Book, by Bobbie Combs, includes wheelchairs and same-sex families in illustrations. (For those keeping score at home, Lynne Cheney's T is for Tolerance.)
The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey (left), is a dark, funny classic from the acclaimed cartoonist. "A is for Amy who fell down the stairs. B is for Basil assaulted by bears..." [see a scan at EvilCripple.com.]
S is for Sivilization, by John Liechty, is not a book, but an angry "A is for AWOL" raction to Cheney's bromides.
A is for ANZACs, by Matt Anderson, teaches children about Australia & New Zealand's WWI soldiers ("W is for War Memorial").
Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book: A Primer for Adults Only by Shel Silverstein, is presumably safe for kids, but geared for a grown-up sense of humor. Check out the "D is for Daddy" illustration, for example.)
N is for Naked, by Ed Lange, is illustrated with vintage naturist photos.
And lastly, Victoria Fremont's run-of-the-mill A is for Astronaut should not to be confused with the very explicit Maurice Vellekoop's ABC Book: A Homoerotic Primer, where "A is for Astronauts" hooking up in space. One reviewer called this book "Tintin meets Tom of Finland." I'm guessing daddy and papa should save this one for after the kids go to bed.