On a scale from one to 10, what’s your favorite color of the alphabet?
This book can’t decide whether it is a number book or an alphabet book—literally. Its anthropomorphized letters and numbers argue over which is more important for readers to learn—numbers that “count and measure and add and subtract” or letters that enable readers to “spell and read.” As they prepare to duke it out, their facial expressions (eyebrows, eyes, lips, teeth and tongues) and white-gloved fists and jabbing fingers speaking volumes, one alligator arrives. The number 1 and the letter A each use this as evidence to support their own case. As proof for both continues to crowd (literally) the pages, the letters and numbers begin to take things in stride. By the end, they present the letters from A to Z and the numbers from one to 26 as a team, concluding that, “This is a book about Numbers…and Letters”…until the last page reveals a new character. “I’m a little lost. I’m supposed to be in a book about colors.” Boldt’s digital illustrations are zany enough to pull off the plot. Pointy numbers vie with rounded letters, while the animals that arrive are cartoonishly realistic-looking (though their actions and accessories are anything but).
Readers won’t care whether it’s about letters or numbers—they will be too busy poring over the artwork and laughing. (Picture book. 4-7)