I have decided that I am a fan of alphabet books. I prefer them when they actually use the short vowel sounds, and get creative with the letter "i." I hate that so many of them use "ice cream." When children are learning their phonetic sounds, they learn the short /i/ sound, as in "big" and "pin." Later, they learn about the long /i/ sound, as in ice cream. It confuses them to teach the long vowel sound, first.
The first time I truly found an alphabet book useful was about ten years ago. I had a little boy who came to my class on Tuesday/Thursday afternoons. That wasn't much time to work with him. He was completely fascinated by dinosaurs and couldn't seem to get his sounds, despite numerous lessons with the sandpaper letters. Finally, I pulled out the Dinosaur Alphabet book, and spent a few sessions working with him using both the sandpaper letters and this book. He would trace the sound while I read to him about the accompanying dinosaur. BAM! He learned his sounds quickly.
I also like the "Little" series by Moncure, called something like "My First Steps to Reading." Each book has its own featured sound where a young child, such as "Little A" collects items into a box that begin with his or her sound. I use these at least once a week with my extended day students. After I read it, they are encouraged to come up with words that begin with those sounds. I love that they go for picture dictionaries and other word books for inspriation. And then, they write out those word lists. Great reading and writing skills!
So, here are some of my favorite alphabet books for young kids.