When a classroom empties for recess, scattered plastic numbers and letters get together to compare differences and similarities.
Unfortunately, the differences stand out more than the similarities. “A” argues with “1” about who really comes first; “E” criticizes the posture of “3”; “b” and “d” indignantly reject an offer from “6” to become triplets (“We are very different letters!” protests the former; “And we get mixed up enough as it is,” complains the latter); and both sides squabble about who’s most curvy. Tensions nearly break out into open war until, at the last moment, with a loud “STOP,” the wall clock’s Roman numerals step in (figuratively) to point out that if letters such as “I” and “V” can stand for numbers, there must be common ground. (Young readers unfamiliar with analog clocks, let alone Roman numerals, may need more than the glancing explanation provided.) Détente is restored (except for “A,” who can’t quite grasp the distinction between “first” and “number 1”) just as the children, a diverse lot in Laberis’ cartoon scenes, come tumbling back in. Fledgling readers further along in recognition skills will likely find Mike Boldt’s similarly premised 123 Versus ABC (2013) a cleverer romp, but those still needing some practice in minding their p’s and q’s will chuckle over this broader, simpler contretemps.
Wordplay? Count on it. (Picture book. 4-6)