Mexican Folk Art ABCs in Spanish & English

By: Cynthia Weill / K.B. Basseches
Illustrator: Moisés & Armando Jiménez

Delicate hand-painted animals from Oaxaca lead little ones through a bilingual alphabet.



Behind-the-scenes look at the artisans!

Teachers Guide to ABeCedarios

Delicate hand-painted animals from Oaxaca lead little ones through a bilingual alphabet.

Every ABC book worth its cover price is bound to have bright colors and big letters. But not every ABC book has magical hand-carved animals to illustrate every letter. And very few alphabet books present those letters in more varieties than English! Very few alphabet books except the ABeCedarios, that is! In this brightly colored book, the alphabet is presented in both Spanish and English, and includes the four additional letters, and whimsical animals, that make the Spanish alphabet so much fun.

Delicados animales pintados a mano desde Oaxaca guían a los niños a través de un alfabeto bilingüe.

Cualquier libro de ABC que valga su precio en la portada seguramente tendrá colores brillantes y letras grandes. Pero no cualquier libro de ABC tiene mágicos animales tallados a mano para ilustrar cada letra. ¡Y muy pocos de esos alfabetos presentan las letras en una variedad distinta al inglés! ¡Muy pocos libros de alfabeto excepto ABeCedarios, por supuesto! En este colorido libro, el alfabeto es presentado en ambos inglés y español e incluye las cuatro letras adicionales-y fantásticos animales-que hacen del español muy divertido.

ABeCedarios F-G spread

The famous folk artists, brothers Moisés and Armando Jiménez, carved the wonderful animal figures that illustrate each letter in ABeCedarios. Working with their wives and children in the beautiful village of Arrazola in Oaxaca, Mexico, they carved and painted each enchanting animal by hand. For many centuries, people in Oaxaca have carved wood to make toys and household objects. However, it was Moisés and Armando's grandfather Manuel who started making animal figures. Now more than sixty families in Arrazola make their living from wood carving.

Cynthia Weill is director of the Center for Children's Literature at the Bank Street College of Education in New York City. She is the author of the successful First Concepts in Mexican Folk Art series. She is trained as an art historian and studies the process of folk artisans around the world.

K. B. Basseches is an artist, photographer, and art educator. She was an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in the Department of Art Education, and served as a staff photographer at the Smithsonian Institution in the Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. Basseches has exhibited throughout the mid-Atlantic region and in the Los Angeles area. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her young son and husband.

Awards and Accomodations

Críticas Top Bilingual Books, 2007

6 reviews for ABeCedarios

  1. Publishers Weekly
    A is for…Children can learn their alphabet (in two languages) as well as get an introduction to an array of unique animals in ABeCedarios.

  2. Críticas
    An outstanding alphabet book, this is highly recommended for all libraries and bookstores.

  3. Midwest Book Review
    Highly recommended; even adults will enjoy lingering over the unique animal artistry

  4. The Santa Fe New Mexican Magazine
    Children’s books with Spanish and English text side-by-side are not uncommon, but this one has an extra treat: photos of animal carvings by a well-known family from Oaxaca, Mexico…lovely and colorful creatures that add charm to the book. Certainly something to catch a child’s eye.

  5. School Library Journal
    An attractive choice for folk-art study or libraries with large collections of artistic ABC books.”

  6. De Colores: The Raza Experience in Books for Children
    ABeCedarios: Mexican Folk Art in English and Spanish features well known animals (“the Elephant / el Elefante”), and rare (“the Quetzal / el Quetzal”), and imaginary ones (“the Unicorn / el Unicornio”), and one that is as yet “undiscovered” (the mysterious “X / el/la X,” a winged creature that breathes fire); as well as animals for which there are uniquely Spanish sounds (“el Chapulín” to demonstrate “ch,” “la Llama,” to show “ll,” “el Ñu” or “gnu,” and “el Zorro,” to depict “rr”).—Beverly Slapin

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