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The Alphabet Tree

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  356 ratings  ·  95 reviews
When a fierce wind threatens to blow all the little letters out of the alphabet tree, they must band together in words—and then sentences—to create a message that’s even stronger than the wind: peace on earth. With their newfound knowledge, there's nothing the letters can't do in this gentle parable about the power of the written word.
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published November 18th 1968 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published 1968)
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Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.Animalia by Graeme BaseDr. Seuss's ABC by Dr. SeussEating the Alphabet by Lois EhlertLMNO Peas by Keith  Baker
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Community Reviews

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The Alphabet Tree by Leo Lionni is about letters becoming stronger by forming words, then separate sentences, and then one sentence with an important message. The book seems as though it was meant to be for younger children with the intent to teach them the power in meaning a sentence can have.

What caught my eye was the beauty of simplicity in the illustrations and colors so that all our attention could be dedicated to the letters, words, and sentences on the tree. The way the author/illustrato
Becky B
The letters hiding in the alphabet tree are taught by various creatures how to organize themselves into words, then sentences, and then something very meaningful. Illustrated in Lionni's typical style. A creative way to teach kids about the organization of language.

I had mixed feelings about the political comment at the very end of the book. The letters eventually form themselves into a "very important" message, "Peace on earth, good will to men," and a caterpillar at the end invites the letter
Brittanie Rieu
This book was an interesting approach to teaching sentence structures and words. I'm not too fond of if, although it may be a helpful tool in teaching sentences to smaller children. For me though, I don't necessarily think I really would use it as a main tool in my class. I would definitely love to have it for students to brush up on their sentences or learn how to make new words. And I do agree with some other reviewers, the end was pretty random. Not a terrible book, but not a favorite,
Ben Clark
"The Alphabet Tree" tells the story of a group of letters who live on the leaves of a tree and bask in the sun. One day a gale engulfs the tree, sweeping away several of the letters and causing the test to huddle together in fear. Thereafter, a "word-bug" and a caterpillar show up to show the letters how to cluster together to make words, and then link up to one another to form sentences. The caterpillar teaches them that sentences alone do not give them the staying power to remain on the tree, ...more
Madison Jones
In the story The Alphabet Tree a group of letters are clung to the leaves of tree. The letters are all by themselves and some get blown away during a windstorm. The remaining letters are frightened and huddle together forming a large group. All of a sudden a word bug stops by and tells the letter they would be stronger as words instead of by themselves. They would be able to with stand any of the strongest winds. Once they were words, a caterpillar came and said they had no meaning alone as word ...more
The Alphabet Tree was about a bunch of letters that were on leaves of a tree. They had helper friends like a "word bee" who told them they could combine to make words and the eventually sentences. Then they created a sentence about peace. Their caterpillar friend carried the finalized sentence off the tree and told them he would go tell the president about their new sentence. This book was really creative because it was not only entertaining but helpful to teach kids that they could use letters ...more
Sarah Baxter
The Alphabet Tree by Leo Lionni is a short children’s picture book that teachers young readers about the alphabet and how letters turn into words and how words can turn into sentences. The story starts off with two ants talking about the amazing alphabet tree and how there were once letters on all the leaves. The ants explain that one day there was an intense storm that blew away all the letters off the tree and into a big pile. The word bug ends up seeing the big pile of letters and explains th ...more
Savannah Montalvo
The Alphabet Tree by Leo Lionni is a book that conveys a positive message to its audience. This book teaches you the importance of forming words and sentences. In the beginning, the Word-Bug explains to the scared little letters that if they bonded to one another, they would be strong enough to withstand the winds. Later, the purple Caterpillar taught the words to create sentences with meaning. Personally, I thought the book showed a creative way to shared a great message.
The Alphabet Tree is a story about all of the letters of the alphabet living in the leaves of a tree. With a strong wind coming these letters must come together to form words so that they do not get blown off of the tree. These words then started to form sentences and with a little encouragement, eventually these words come together to form a very special sentence that is important for all mankind.

This book has cartoon illustrations that show motion through the drawings; from the flying of the
pacifist claptrap!

well, now that that's out of my system, it's a very sweet book, with the usual wonderful paintings by lionni. i just didn't like the ending which has a heartfelt message of humanist solidarity being delivered to a government head whose very existence likely depends on overseeing a system of mass terror and violence directed against the majority of citizens.
Christina Greenberg
The Alphabet Tree by Leo Lionni is a wonderful book that describes how letters transform into words and words into sentences. The book shows that alone letters are nice and enjoy a quiet life. However they are easily blown away by a storm and are unstable and not strong. When they come together to make words they have more power and strength to weather a storm. Next, the book show that when words come together to make sentences they gain even more strength, but Lionni shows that you cannot stop ...more
Gemma Duling
Personal Reaction:
I loved this book, mostly because the last page is funny to me. I liked the colors and the way it was written captured my attention. I like that the bee helped the letters formed words and then the caterpillar helped the letters formed sentences. I think it would help children make sense of letters and words and realize that what you put together needs a meaning.

I would use this to demonstrate that the letters and words you put together need meaning. Children will need
Natalie Cosellian
1. There was a tree full of letters and each letter had a leaf. One day a gust of wind blows away some of the letters. A bug and a caterpillar come to help the remaining letters so they will not be fearful of another wind storm. The bugs teach them how to make words and sentences.
2. This book relates to chapter five in our textbook. Theirs book shows the letters of the alphabet and does more than just says each letter, it introduces words and sentences. I would read this book to ages five and up
Kevin Wright
The Alphabet Tree is an interesting take on a recurring theme in Lionni's work. As with the fish in Swimmy, the letters in The Alphabet Tree discover that there is strength in numbers and that a group that cooperates under a single purpose is greater than the sum of its parts. In this case, it's letters forming words forming sentences forming big ideas. And the ending emphasizes that there is always room for improvement, both for individuals and for society as a whole. What I like most about the ...more
Um, I know it's Leo Lionni but it was kinda weird.
Meghan Hunt
Generally I love everything by Leo Lionni and I thought I would love this book too. I always like his artwork and I love the concept of the book and how it begins. I love how there are letters in a tree that blow away, so to prevent being blown away again, they join together to form words to add weight. They then join words to create sentences. I think it's a great way to teach kids about the language concepts. What I didn't like was the political message at the end. That really threw me off an ...more
Kathleen Heroux
Lionni,Leo (1968). The Alphabet Tree. Dragonfly Books: Alfred A. Knopf,
New York, NY.

Level:Pre-K - 1

The Alphbet Tree is a read aloud picture book that introduces the small letters of the alphabet formng them into small words and finally into sentences.

The size of the book and illustrations limit its classroom use to small group presentations and either use by a single child or practice partners. The print is in bold standard type similar to that used in curriculum reading mateials allowing fo
Courtney Watson
A great book for young readers. It starts the readers off with the basics of reading and creating sentences. It shows the young readers how letters can combine to create first small words then to bigger and better sentences. It's a very helpful book for young readers and uses things such as wind, leaves, trees, and bugs to make the story more entertaining.
Sarah Murray
This is a perfect book for younger kids working on their letters and words. It had great illustrations on the letters being by themselves versus being paired with a different set of letters. The grade levels for this story would be at the oldest 3rd grade and under. As a teacher i would use this book to demonstrate how to spell and put words together.
Some activities i can think of to use from this book would be for the class to make our own alphabet tree. Each student would get a letter and put
Kaylin Marton
This book did a nice job of making it entertaining for all ages. The way the author scrambled the alphabet and eventually brought it into sentences was a nice metaphor for how children learn. It all starts with recognizing a letter, using the letter to form a word and using those words to form a sentence. The artwork in this book was also extremely well done. I enjoyed being able to see the movement of the trees and the contrast with the alphabet and the bright colors or the world around us. Ove ...more
I loved reading The Alphabet Tree, I thought it was a really cute story! It really makes you think, especially with all the letters and words you have to put together. This would be a great book for young kids who are just starting to learn the alphabet, and possibly putting words and sentences together. There is really nothing better than using an alphabet tree either,because of the way the tree is structured, it makes it more fun for the kids to put letters together. I think a great activity t ...more
Renise Black
A beautiful way to talk about sentences with children. This book gives the all important understanding of what a sentence is all about. It is to say something!!
Monique Franco
A powerful message packed in less than 30 pages. This book is a short story about the importance of voice and joining together to become an important aspect in society. In the beginning of the story, the wind easily scared and bullied the individual letters that happily clung to their tree of life. Yet only after they joined together and represented something important were they able to stand up to the wind and inspire the caterpillar to take that voice to the top. Although this is, without a do ...more
Christina Myers
This story is about a tree that once used to hold letters, until two bugs helped them transform themselves from words all the way to a more complex sentence. Would be great for younger students (grade 1-3) using the personifications of not only nature but letters themselves to get them more excited about reading.
Create a word scramble, using the ideas in the book. Start with the letters, work up to words and sentences. Have the students create their own tree collage.
Can be used again and again for different units such as vowel pairs, spelling words (high-frequency words), and improving the quality of writing.
Make a simple sentence. Have possible adjectives or descriptive words available. Ask the students to improve the sentence.
"Does this make you want to keep reading what this writer has written? I l
Erika Donahue
Great book for teaching about letters and putting them together to make words and putting words together to make sentences that mean something!!! Great for teaching writing!
This is a good book for younger grades who are learning how letters form words. They can use their imagination to create their own words.
Love this book. Teaches kids the value of the written word. (Wish it had read "goodwill to all" instead of "to men," though.)
Kristine Jenkins
What a fun way to introduce word and sentence building. Children as young as 3 can see that letters can be used to create words. Then those words can create sentences to give their thoughts meaning. This is a engaging way to teach the concept of print and its uses to young children.
My kids really liked this book and have asked me to read it to them again and again. I'll admit that the first time I read it I also thought it was great but the ending was a little weird. But when my first grade son asked me to read it the second time I was surprised to find out the part he loves is the part I thought was weird. Then it made me think, the story is not only about cute little letters on leaves working together to make words. It's also about the power that words can have when put ...more
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Leo Lionni wrote and illustrated more than 40 highly acclaimed children's books. He received the 1984 American Institute of Graphic Arts Gold Medal and was a four-time Caldecott Honor Winner--for Inch by Inch, Frederick, Swimmy, and Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse. Leo Lionni died in October of 1999 at his home in Tuscany, Italy, at the age of 89.

Leo Lionni has gained international
More about Leo Lionni...
A Color of His Own Swimmy Frédéric Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse Inch by Inch

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