Alphabets and Pictures for Children

Book/Children's book/Illustration/Image

Description

English

Alphabet books have a long history and are often the first books to be given to young children by parents or teachers. The very earliest alphabet books were unillustrated and simply showed letters. As time went on they incorporated illustrations to make learning more interesting and to aid the memory of young readers. 

To the modern reader, these illustrations perhaps seem to have been allocated rather randomly and unhelpfully. The inn shown here is not the most obvious illustration for the letter ‘I’, for example. Two very similar pictures of a horse represent ‘H’ for ‘horse’ in one of the alphabets, but stand for ‘N’ for ‘nag’ a few pages later. The reader needs to be able to distinguish between ivy, a vine and a pea plant, in order to learn ‘I’, ‘V’ and ‘P’. However, an alphabet book alone will not teach a child to read, and the books were probably intended to be read with a parent or other adult.

Full title
Alphabets and Pictures for Children
Published
estimated 1824 , London
Format
Book / Children's book / Illustration / Image
Creator
unknown
Held by
British Library
Usage Terms
Free from known copyright restrictions
Shelfmark
012806.de.21.(5.)

Related articles

The origins of children’s literature

Article by
M O Grenby
Themes: 
Reading and print culture, Childhood and children's literature

Professor M O Grenby charts the rise of children’s literature throughout the 18th century, explaining how books for children increasingly blended entertainment with instruction.

Related collection items