The animals in Alphabeasties and Other Amazing Types by Sharon Werner and Sarah Forss (Blue Apple Books, 2009) are created--or composed, as in printing--of type. There's a different typeface for each animal, from Volta EF Aaaa's for alligator to American Typewriter Zzzz's for zebra (as seen on the cover), with lots of clever combinations, like Bauhaus Dddd's for dog (it's a Dachsund, of course) in between. The result is a playful and sophisticated alphabet book that works for little kids, big kids, and their design-minded parents, too.
In a brief introduction to typefaces and to the concept of the book, Werner and Fosse ask readers to think of a word to describe each animal and consider whether that word also describes the typeface used to create it--a nice exercise in visual thinking. My favorite match of typeface to animal might be the shaggy sheep (see below). The typeface is Giddyup, except for a sans-serif band around the middle where the sheep has been sheared (with scissors):
There's more witty letter-and-wordplay in the sidebars, where you'll find embroidered E's, zippered Z's, and a mouthful of T's, among multiple examples for each letter; as well as gatefolds that open horizontally or vertically to reveal the alligator's open jaws or (another favorite) the unicorn's flowing mane. [See more interior photos at Werner Design Werks flickr; it was hard to pick!]
Ultimately, Alphabeasties reminds its readers that a b sounds like a b no matter what it looks like (little kids will appreciate that), but a Fette Fraktur B...that's a different animal. Can you guess which one?
[N.b. Review copy provided by the publisher; thank you! Alphabeasties is also available at the NGA Shop (that's where I saw it first). For the littlest kids, there are Alphabeasties Flash Cards (the typeface animals are on the front of the cards; flip them over to make two floor puzzles). And for everyone else, there's the Alphabeasties Amazing Activity Book as well.]