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The Alphabet Tree

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  435 Ratings  ·  110 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
Fun and interesting ABC/Abecedarian books
37th out of 224 books — 137 voters
The Giving Tree by Shel SilversteinThe Lorax by Dr. SeussA Tree Is Nice by Janice May UdryThe Tale of Three Trees by Angela Elwell HuntThe Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry
Picture Books About Trees
67th out of 112 books — 24 voters

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Community Reviews

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Aug 31, 2013 Nada rated it liked it
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
Nov 05, 2012 Becky B rated it liked it
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
Aug 29, 2011 Brittanie Rieu rated it liked it
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
Sep 02, 2014 Ben Clark rated it really liked it
"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
Sep 01, 2014 Madison Jones rated it really liked it
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
Aug 28, 2011 Allison rated it liked it
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
Leo Lionni was awarded the Caldecott honor several times over his career as a writer and illustrator of books for children. His books often work on multiple levels, with simple illustrations young children enjoy and stories with a depth that make them enjoyable for older children. The Alphabet Tree is no different.

The conceit of the book is simple, a wind comes along and blows the letters off of their tree. This throws the letters into confusion and frightens them, until they learn how to make t
Aug 27, 2016 Rebecca rated it really liked it
The Alphabet Tree is another classic Leo Lionni tale, complete with fantastic paintings and a narrative that brings a smile. The first pages of the book display a two page spread of a tree that is simple in form and color, but crafted with a complexity of shades and shapes. The illustration is so captivating, my children and I didn't want to turn the page. Our eyes kept noticing something new: a streak of brown, a blend of green, the shape of each individual leaf, and the placement of two tiny a ...more
Andie Siegel
Title: The Alphabet Tree
Author: Leo Lionni
Genre: Alphabet
Theme(s): Community building, working together, learning to make words and sentences
Opening line/sentence: "This is the Alphabet Tree," said the ant.
Brief Book Summary: This book is about a tree that has letters on its leaves and branches. When the wind comes, however, the letters are easily blown off and they sometimes fall off. The letters are advised that they need to work together in order to not get blown off the tree; fo
Sarah Baxter
Sep 03, 2014 Sarah Baxter rated it really liked it
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
Aug 26, 2012 Savannah Montalvo rated it liked it
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.
Sep 02, 2014 Nicole rated it liked it
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
Nov 06, 2007 f rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 03, 2014 Christina Greenberg rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 17, 2016 Reem rated it liked it
The alphabet tree by Leo Lionni is a picture book targets children in grades K-2. The overall all goal of this book is to teach kids the importance of alphabets in forming meaningful sentences. Firstly, the author showed how the letters by themselves cannot represents meaningful things. However, when put together, letters can be meaningful. The author delivered a nice message that says unification always makes us stronger and more powerful.
In terms of the overall rating, I believe the book wort
Jan 19, 2016 Jenna rated it liked it
This is a cute book that seems pretty simple, but the message behind it goes a bit deeper than most people would think in my opinion. It is about a bunch of letters in the alphabet that live together on the alphabet tree. There is a storm one night with winds strong enough to threaten the letters of the alphabet tree. Some of the letters are lost in the wind so the remaining letters need to think of something to do to make sure that none of the other letters are lost. The letters receive some he ...more
Gemma Duling
Feb 18, 2015 Gemma Duling rated it it was ok
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
Veronica Duarte
Jan 18, 2016 Veronica Duarte rated it liked it
The Alphabet Tree
Leo Lionni

I am going to be honest and say I really didn't like this book, but it is still a great way for children to learn sentence structure and other important ideas of reading. Although it is a great way for learning it is also a bit random and all over the place to me. It does show children how to make stronger words and sentences that are "important", but I don't like the message at the end. I think children should not be exposed to politics that early on in life. If I wer
Kevin Wright
Mar 29, 2014 Kevin Wright rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-ya
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
Jan 15, 2016 Joshua rated it really liked it
This book was a fantastic read and caught my eye from page one. The book starts out with a page littered with leaves and never ceases from there. The artistic style reminds me that of The Very Hungry caterpillar. The leaves in the book have letters living on them with no direction of where to go. Throughout the read they are given help by a multitude of characters in order to fix their issues. If I was to have read this book in my early childhood it would have been an instant favorite. The book ...more
May 18, 2008 Suzanne rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
Um, I know it's Leo Lionni but it was kinda weird.
Meghan Hunt
Dec 02, 2014 Meghan Hunt rated it liked it
Shelves: jp-picture-books
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
Jan 18, 2016 Nomre rated it really liked it
As someone who works with children, I think The Alphabet Tree by Leo Lionni would be a good introduction to reading for non-readers. It is a book about insects who tell a story about letters that live on a tree and work together to form words and sentences. I like that the insects tell the story by asking questions. This is a good way to open up a dialogue between children and caregivers. I think that the bold colored illustrations on a white background would be appealing to the eye of the youn ...more
Christa Parks
Aug 30, 2015 Christa Parks rated it really liked it
As always, Leo Lionni's illustrations are simple and beautiful. My favorite part of reading the story was looking at the details in the leaves and animals. I was enjoying the idea of the letters becoming words and then the words becoming sentences but once the caterpillar took them off to the president, the ending just left me wanting. I was shocked that was the last page. I kept turning the page back and forth in shock.
Kathleen Heroux
Jan 17, 2010 Kathleen Heroux rated it really liked it
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
Jan 20, 2016 Sophia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rdg-books
This book is a great tool to show children and new readers/ writers how you can use letters and words to form sentences and promote meaningful messages. At the start of the book, the letters are all on their own and can't hold on to the tree, but at the end they realize that if they join together to make words and sentences, they can create meaning and be stronger.
Courtney Watson
Sep 02, 2014 Courtney Watson rated it really liked it
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
Oct 19, 2011 Sarah Murray rated it really liked it
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
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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 renown for his
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