A couple of weeks ago in the middle of Wizards of the Coast’s busy publishing schedule for D&D, the company released two children’s books. Granted, Dungeons & Dragons may not be the first name you think of when you ponder back to your youth and the early educational books you may have had growing up. But the company would like to change your minds a little on that front by offering two different titles for the nerd parents out there. The 123s of D&D, and The ABCs of D&D.
Starting off with the numbers book, the story tells the tale of an adventure with three kids. Two of them in the story and one of them being the DM. They ride forth into the story with the numbers 1-10 being the crux of how the tale is woven. The book, of course, is at a young child’s reading level, except for some of the monsters and creatures from D&D, so its meant to be a story that you tell your kids as they grow up and learn numbers and counting, and eventually, they can read themselves.
Caleb Cleveland does a wonderful job of putting illustrations in the book that parents can show their kids and help paint a vivid picture of what the worlds of D&D can be. Which, as we all know, is whatever your imagination can create. He’s done a lovely job here, as you can see from the picture below, of painting various types of castles and buildings and townships that kids will look at with wonder. It’s an awesome way to get them involved with the story and teaching them basic skills at the same time
Both books were written by Ivan Van Norman, who has produced and published a few RPGs of his own over the years. So the company managed to snag a person who knows the material well and knows exactly how to tell a story that can be fantastic and informative at the same time.
The alphabet book works in much the same manner, except instead of your usual array of words that are basic and easy to understand, you get a few from the world of D&D to make it a bit of a challenge. For example, your average alphabet book would start kids off learning that A is for Apple, because that’s a basic concept and use of something they’ll see every day. But here, it’s changed to match the tone of the game, so you get Adventure. Not quite at a low reading level, but a word that they can grow to learn and love.
The illustrations throughout this book are taken from moments in D&D, so parents who read along with their kids will see some familiar faces like Xanathar and Strahd gracing the pages. It’s a cool little nod to what you enjoy as a player and seeing it come to life here in a cartoonish way. It’s especially nice to see things I enjoyed like an Owlbear and an airship make their way through the story they tell here.
Overall, these are some really lovely books. They serve their purpose well and they work on different levels for kids and adults. They will run you $15 a pop, which I know will scare off a few parents because if you have to make a choice, you’ll probably go for the cheap $3 generic version than a D&D version. But if you love the game and want it to be a part of you kid’s life as they grow up, you’ll spring the cash for them.