The ABC's and 123's of D&D

What are the ABC's and 123's of D&D?

These two books were created by Ivan Van Norman and Caleb Cleveland and are adorable children’s books that focus on the alphabet and the numbers 1-10 respectively. These children’s books are both filled with amazing art and literature to teach the English alphabet and numbers 1-20 in a creative D&D way. I got these books with the intention of bringing them to my Pre-K (age 4-5) classroom and they have been a great hit every time they make it to circle time. I would say that even though these children can be learning implements for the alphabet and numbers, these books would also be of interest to others who already know ABC’s and basic counting. I could see these books easily being crowd favorites from littles up to at least 2nd grade due to the detail and variety of D&D pieces that went into these two books.

A lot of creative care went into both of these books and if you are looking for books that spark the imagination of children in your life or are trying to get younger players interested in tabletop gaming these books are what you have been looking for. I absolutely loved both of these books. I have brought them with me to work and have read them twice to my class and each time the children were so very excited to sit for them. I have used the books for story time and then after reading through we also just went through each book page by page so the children could excitedly see each of the pages in more detail and get a chance to ask their questions about what they see. The imagination that these books spark is amazing and have been a great creative tool to have in my classroom.

The Creators

These books were written by Ivan Von Norman. You may know him from his work on the mini series UnDeadwood, or as the game master in “We’re Alive: Frontier''. My first experience listening to Ivan Von Norman was his role as Storyteller on “Sagas of Sundry '' as his ability to weave such an intense and dark story got me interested in the game Dread.

Caleb Cleveland is the artist behind these books. He has other great works that he has illustrated such as parts of Farscape: Uncharted Tales and stories in the Farscape Vol 4: Ongoing series.

The ABC's

This book goes through the basics of D&D in a cute alphabetical book. The pages rhyme and there are so many great pieces to explore in each of the letters. There are rhymes between the pages and language that is relatively easy for children to understand.

The 1.2.3's

This book goes through the numbers 1-10 and has an additional bestiary on the back 9 pages to give a small sentence description about each of the creatures that were presented in the book. I love that there are page rhymes with the main story and continues into the bestiary.

Thoughts from the Dungeon Fox

Both of these books have amazing art work in which I love that the heros are presented as children. From having some diversity and the detail of the children dressing up as their characters (paper elf ears, paper mache tiefling horns) these are great tools to help get children excited to become characters in an adventure. I also like that I for Imagination breaks stereotypes by having different races, genders and children with different interests (hockey player, musicians etc.) can all join together to create a great D&D party. There are some great art pieces such as goblins digging through diaries to show that magic can be in the real world and also images that put the players in amazing looking imaginary situations (such as the Ravenloft and the Nine Dragons pages). I enjoy the wholesomeness that comes in the ABC’s book such as: Do our best, friendship (is) the best reward, everyone has the potential to be the hero, sharing, and wisdom is essential to life.

There are so many great details in the book that had great D&D tie-ins and gave a talking point to get the kiddos interested in D&D. With “The ABCs of D&D” book there is a copy of “Lost Mine of Phandelver,” the original gem eyed Gollum from the AD&D books, the red dragon DM screen and Dungeon Master’s Guide that I could bring physical copies of for the kids to see. In “The 123s of D&D” the Monster Manual, DM screen, the Dungeons and Dragons Red box, Dungeon! Board game, the Red Dragon Figurine of Adorable Power, a d20 plushy, and a bunch of D&D books (Player's Handbook, Volo’s Guide to Monsters, Hoard of the Dragon Queen). When I bring out the physical pieces that go with the artwork in the books the children get even more excited and interested in creating their own D&D party. They like looking at the pieces and pictures and different real world representations because they know they saw it first in these books.

The price point on these two books are not bad at all and are great for a creative birthday or holiday gift for the young gamers in your life. They are also great for nerd parents for bed time stories and a way for older generation players to start conversations with those of the younger generation in your family.

How to get your own copy

Many of the friendly local game shops have copies or can order copies for you. My local friendly The Gamers Den had some copies come in for the holidays but if you don't have a go to gaming store; Target and other places such as the Bezos Bazar will let you order them online to be delivered as well. Depending on where you get it from the books run from $8.99-$14.99 a copy. I will always advocate for shopping local and with smaller shops if you are able to.