The ABCs Of War And An Adult Children’s Book: Unusual Alphabet Primers

Nicholas C. Rossis

Alison Jay ABC | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksThe wee one is at that age when we’re reading her ABCs on a daily basis — which explains why one of her first words was “ackle” (apparently, that’s what A stands for). We have half a dozen of these, with Alison Jay’s ABC being my favorite one, thanks to her stunning illustrations. However, I wish I could get my hands on two of the more unusual ones. Like Shel Silverstein’s Adults-Only Children’s Book and The ABCs of WWI, a British Wartime Alphabet Primer: did you know that D stands for dreadnought?

Shel Silverstein’s Adults-Only Children’s Book

In 1961, Hugh Hefner, likely recognizing that his adult publication was missing out on a lucrative and untapped market, commissioned some material just for the kids. As Kevin Litman-Navarro of Atlas Obscura explains, six pages after August’s centerfold spread of Playmate Karen Thompson, Playboy Magazine printed its inaugural children’s work—Uncle Shelby’s ABZ…

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