A boy makes an elaborate excuse for a missing school assignment in this rhyming alphabet picture book.
Elementary school teacher Mrs. May asks her student Jet why he didn’t complete his assignment to write out the alphabet. The boy explains that he did complete it—but the letters ran away or simply disappeared off the page. Jet goes on to detail what happened to each one: “B was so sad that she didn’t stay. / C left as well; he wanted to play.” After chronicling the whereabouts of the entire alphabet, Mrs. May tells Jet that the letters will “pay for their crimes,” and she instructs the boy to write out the alphabet 20 times, much to his dismay. Fegan’s (Don't Ever Look Behind Door 32, 2018, etc.) rhyme scheme is smooth, with short sentences and child-friendly language. Returning collaborator Wen’s fantastic illustrations further enhance the story. Most show Jet attempting to find the runaway letters, depicted as playful, monsterlike creatures. The whimsical scenery is richly colored, with each page offering clever details and subtext. For instance, the “P” creature resembles a purse-carrying peacock, with items starting with “P” (plants, pumpkin, pie) subtly appearing in the background. Both Jet and Mrs. May appear to be Caucasian, and the other students include people of color.
A gorgeously illustrated book with a clever concept.