One of the pleasures of having kids is getting to pass down to them the stuff that bring you joy. And it’s even better when it’s something that you’ve been enjoying for a long time. Into this intersection of geeking and parenting step The 123s of D&D and The ABCs of D&D, by Ivan Van Norman and Caleb Cleveland, and “for players of every level.”
The hardcover ABCs and 123s of D&D are both filled with the whimsical, light-hearted fun of going on an adventure with your friends. Imagination, zeal, and trying your best are lauded. So are Dungeon Masters – another important value to inculcate in little gamers.
And the paper elf ears are adorable.
Some of the specifically D&D aspects of the art will be easily detectable by the kids, such as Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition books or dice as part of the landscape. But both books are also stashed with references for the parents – “Raistlin was here” carved into a stone archway, a Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia on the shelf, the poor golem from the cover of the original Player’s Handbook losing a gem-eye.
The ABCs of D&D follows the standard format for an ‘ABC’ book – one little rhyme and picture per letter. If you’ve read a lot of these types of books to your kinds (or if you can count the letters of the alphabet), you know that this doesn’t work for the numbers book (because, it turns out, counting to 10 is less than 26). In this case, the numbers go up to 10 (telling a continuous story) and then the rest of the book has rhymes about the creatures that appeared earlier in the story. The two players of the 123s of D&D show up in the ABCs, which has a broader cast. I liked both books, and they’re the sort of thing you usually buy as a pair, but if I was picking out only one, it would be The ABCs of D&D – the 123s works to get that story part done, and then drops it, while the ABCs is able to be more creative with its rhymes and whimsy, thanks to looser format.
My youngest (5) is a couple of years past the point where she needs ABC/123. But we still enjoyed reading the books together. Reading is always good for bonding and development. I’d highly recommend both the ABCs and the 123s of D&D to D&D fans with little kids who haven’t mastered all of their letters and numbers yet, but they’re also fun with kids who are a little older. Although you may end up with a little one demanding that you buy her elf ears and a pink wizard outfit.
Promotional consideration was provided in the form of review copies.