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Matthew ABC

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PreS-Gr 1-There are 25 Matthews in Mrs. Tuttle's class. Following the time-honored tradition, the teacher adds the first letter of their last names to identify the boys. Conveniently, each one has a different initial and a unique characteristic that helps her keep track of the right Matthew. Some letters have cozy traits (A. is affectionate); others grasp frantically for a trait (F. has a cat on his face, R. is freckled with a rhinoceros). A few letters have the dumb and dumber appeal-L. leaks (a serious runny nose is illustrated), N. is nearly naked, and X. swallowed the xylophone. When a 26th student arrives, his name is Matthew and his clothes are covered with zippers. Though there is unquestionable kid appeal in this curious concept book, caregivers may wonder about J. who works a night job and poor E. who forgets how to eat and is illustrated mashing a spoonful of food onto his forehead. The watercolor paintings are rendered with a full brush and or many layers of color with some pages appearing a bit muddy. There are touches of wit to amuse the observant-C.'s friendly cowlick spells "hello," "enjoy," "oh my," "sshhh," "lovely," and "welcome"; B. is covered head to toe in Band-Aids. There are many wonderful alphabet books out there, but Catalanotto's fans and those with a soft spot in their hearts for the quirky will want to add Matthew A.B.C.-Jody McCoy, The Bush School, Seattle, WA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

What's a teacher to do when all of the students in her class have the same first name? In this offbeat alphabet book, Mrs. Tuttle has found what she believes is an easy solution. Mrs. T. distinguishes the 25 Matthews in her kindergarten by associating the first letter of each boy's last name with one of his attributes. For example, "Matthew A. is affectionate" and "Matthew G. has trouble with glue." By the penultimate page, readers have met the entire class, save for the new kid: a boy named Matthew (of course) who takes his place in the line-up right after Matthew Y. and is sporting lots of zippers. Following a fairly standard ABC-book template, each page is devoted to a letter that's featured in an upperhand corner. Throughout, Catalanotto (Emily's Art) makes a departure from his customary, portrait-flavored style and employs more playful lines and shapes in buoyantly hued watercolors. The artist's often wacky depictions of what makes each Matthew special (Matthew F. has a cat on his face; Matthew R. has freckles in the shape of a rhinoceros) offer kids plenty of laughs and, perhaps, new ways to look at their own classmates. Ages 4-6. (June) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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