Space Alphabet

Space Alphabet

In honor of Sputnik 1, 50 years later (on Oct. 4th), I present to you all a nice little gem of a book I got off of ebay about a year ago: Space Alphabet (1964) by Irene Zacks. Pictures by Peter P. Plasencia.

I found out about this book by checking out Dreams of Space: Space Art in Children's Books, which I bookmarked ages ago. It wasn't until just last year when I decided to see if there were any available on ebay, and sure enough, I found one! It was a library book, but I didn't care because it was listed has not having any marks inside. (Always a downer.) I normally don't scan an entire book, but here I made an exception because of just how cool the images were by Peter P. Plascencia. Simple, bold and direct. No excess details. Something to be learned from this, people. I'm serious. Pay attention to how he composed each page. I scanned the entire page -- no cropping at all -- so you can see how it looks to the viewer/reader. Nice balance between positive and negative space.

Not much about Plascenica out there in the internets, but the Dreams of Space site does feature his bio from the book.

Ava had a blast reading this book to Ezra the other night. Very fun imagery with simple colors and simple text. Not often do you get the word "dirigible" in a children's book. Ezra was a little upset that E was for "Earth" and not "Ezra." Seemed a little confounded by that one.

View the entire book here: Space Alphabet: Flickr set.

Below you'll see some pages from the book. Click on each image to view its Flickr page, then choose "All sizes" to view larger:

Space Alphabet: A

Space Alphabet: C

Space Alphabet: E

Space Alphabet: F

Space Alphabet: I

Space Alphabet: K

Space Alphabet: L
Hey, checkit. LAIKA! By the way, not only is "Laika" the name of the first dog in space, it is the name of a dog breed from the word Layat, which means to bark. (Thanks, Lev!) FYI: Laika was on board the second Sputnik mission: Sputnik 2.

Space Alphabet: O

Space Alphabet: U & V

Space Alphabet: Z

Happy Sputnik Day!


  1. Shout-outs from Pica +Pixel! Thanks for a great post!

  2. That really was a beautiful post! I'd love to see the rest of those pages.

    The post-sputnik era produced more math majors than any other era in American history.

  3. Looks like yet another book hunt for me. This looks great!

  4. super amazing.


  5. I live for seeing stuff like this. Thanks Ward. Best, Lainey

  6. Cute looking blog...

    I liked the header ! :D

  7. When I was a kid I had a record album called The Space Alphabet. Nothing related to this swanky book but boy, if the two could team up...wow!