123 versus ABC

Overview

Mike Boldt's bright and playful picture book asks a big question: Which is more important, numbers or letters?
 
Numbers and letters, the colorful characters in this story, compete to be the stars of this book. Their debate escalates when funny animals and props arrive—starting with 1 alligator, 2 bears, and 3 cars. Who is this book ...

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Overview

Mike Boldt's bright and playful picture book asks a big question: Which is more important, numbers or letters?
 
Numbers and letters, the colorful characters in this story, compete to be the stars of this book. Their debate escalates when funny animals and props arrive—starting with 1 alligator, 2 bears, and 3 cars. Who is this book really about?
 
In the end, the answer is clear. This fresh and funny picture book plays with both numbers and letters in the most imaginative way.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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)
Children's Literature - Carrie Hane Hung
Numbers? Letters? Which one will it be? The number, 1, and the letter, A, want their respective sets featured in the book. They both state their respective importance in counting, measuring, spelling, and reading. When an alligator enters the scene, 1 is certain that the book features numbers since there is one alligator. On the other hand, A claims that the book is on letters because the word, alligator, begins with "a." The twosome continue to banter for their respective sets as two bears, three cars, four dinosaurs and more begin to arrive until they reach 26 zebras. Both A and 1 discover that the book may feature both numbers and letters. However, the color, red, appears and brings a funny twist to the end of the story. The illustrations support the story; the items in some cases are trickier and more challenging to count because of the way they are arranged in the pictures. The conversation between A and 1 are differentiated by speech bubbles that are outlined in the colors of A (yellow) and 1 (blue). Children may enjoy the different presentation of this alphabet and number book. Older children may like to pair read for the voices of A and 1. Reviewer: Carrie Hane Hung
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—A blue Number 1 declares this book is about numbers, while an orange Letter A on the opposite page announces it's about letters. An argument ensues as more and more creatures appear on the pages, each one's name beginning with a sequential letter, while the number of individuals, what they are eating, traveling in, or carrying, can be counted or given sequential letter names as well. For example, in one spread, there are 3 cars, 4 dinosaurs have 5 eggs, and 6 toads (er, frogs) provide 7 hungry geese with 8 hot dogs and 9 ice-cream cones. The spreads become more and more crowded as greater numbers of digitally rendered animals engage with increasing numbers of objects. Fortunately, the backgrounds are white; all of the numbers are printed in blue, while the alphabetical letters are in orange, so readers can keep track of what is going on. Finally, all 26 numbers appear across the top half of a spread while the letters appear on the bottom, each with some spot illustrations, and the two antagonists agree, "Of course. This is a book about Numbers… and Letters!" While not for children just learning numbers or the alphabet, this offering will provide a fun way for those a bit older to review both. Pair it with Amy Krouse Rosenthal's Wumbers (Chronicle, 2012).—Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT
Kirkus Reviews
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 Numbersand 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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062102997
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/25/2013
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 120,477
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.26 (w) x 10.16 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Mike Boldt is the author-illustrator of 123 versus ABC, which promises laughs "from A to 26," according to Publishers Weekly. Mike roams the beautiful Alberta prairies, where he wrangles colors, shapes, numbers, and letters into picture books.

Mike Boldt is the author-illustrator of 123 versus ABC, which promises laughs "from A to 26," according to Publishers Weekly. Mike roams the beautiful Alberta prairies, where he wrangles colors, shapes, numbers, and letters into picture books.

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