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by Denise Fleming & illustrated by Denise Fleming

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-8050-6848-1
Publisher: Henry Holt

The little mouse from Fleming’s Lunch (1992) literally and alliteratively works his way through the alphabet. The emphasis is on process; rather than introducing appropriate objects for each letter of the alphabet, this cheery offering presents verbs: “Mouse airbrushes the A, / buttons the B, / carves the C, . . . ” With the exception of A and Z, which occupy double-page spreads, each letter takes up one page, the happily industrious mouse leveling, measuring, and nailing his way along. Fleming’s trademark pulp paintings glow, the brightly colored letters standing out against equally bright and uncluttered backgrounds. The text presents the letters subtly and effectively, making it a good bridge between the very beginning alphabet books and more sophisticated offerings. Most of the lettering is done in an uneven serif font reminiscent of typescript, but the letter being worked on appears in a clean sans-serif font, the lower-case exemplar at the beginning of its appropriate verb and the upper-case as the object. The cleanness of the sans-serif font nicely complements the in-process messiness of the illustrated letters. If some of the verbs stretch the concept (Mouse “judges the J” and, inevitably, “x-rays the X”), others are just plain inspired, as Mouse prunes the topiary P and then vacuums a purple V pattern on a very dirty rug. Here’s an alphabet book that’s certainly worth making room for. (Picture book. 3-6)