cover image MATTHEW A.B.C.


Peter Catalanotto, . . Atheneum/Jackson, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-84582-6

What's a teacher to do when all of the students in her class have the same first name? In this offbeat alphabet book, Mrs. Tuttle has found what she believes is an easy solution. Mrs. T. distinguishes the 25 Matthews in her kindergarten by associating the first letter of each boy's last name with one of his attributes. For example, "Matthew A. is affectionate" and "Matthew G. has trouble with glue." By the penultimate page, readers have met the entire class, save for the new kid: a boy named Matthew (of course) who takes his place in the line-up right after Matthew Y. and is sporting lots of zippers. Following a fairly standard ABC-book template, each page is devoted to a letter that's featured in an upperhand corner. Throughout, Catalanotto (Emily's Art) makes a departure from his customary, portrait-flavored style and employs more playful lines and shapes in buoyantly hued watercolors. The artist's often wacky depictions of what makes each Matthew special (Matthew F. has a cat on his face; Matthew R. has freckles in the shape of a rhinoceros) offer kids plenty of laughs—and, perhaps, new ways to look at their own classmates. Ages 4-6. (June)