cover image 123 Versus ABC

123 Versus ABC

Mike Boldt. Harper, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-210299-7

Numbers and letters struggle for dominance of Boldt’s debut, which joins recent combative abecedaries like Z Is for Moose and A Is for Musk Ox. “Hello!” says an anthropomorphic blue numeral one, greeting readers with a smile. “I’m so glad you chose to read this book about Numbers!” Simultaneously, an orange “A” walks in from the other side of the spread. “Hi! I’m so happy you chose to read this book about Letters!” A giant “WHAT?!!” of disbelief follows, and the 1 and A use new arrivals—like a single green alligator—to support their claims. “That settles it then. Since there is 1 Alligator, this is a book about Numbers,” announces 1. “Did you hear what you just said?” responds A. “Alligator. That starts with the letter A.” Two bears arrive in three cars (with four dinosaurs), and chaos mounts as 13 monkeys in 14 neckties juggle 15 oranges, and so on. Boldt’s illustrations have a dimensional, painterly quality that recalls Adam Rex’s work, and the absurd scenarios, strong-willed personalities, and visual gags will have kids laughing from A to 26. Ages 4–8. Agent: Jennifer Rofé, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (July)