Alphabet under Construction


An artist’s approach to introducing the alphabet

Mouse airbrushes the A,
buttons the B,
carves the C . . .

Mouse is hard at work constructing each letter of the alphabet. He dyes the D, erases the E, and folds the F. Mouse works his way right through to Z, constructing an alphabet that surpasses even the ...

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An artist’s approach to introducing the alphabet

Mouse airbrushes the A,
buttons the B,
carves the C . . .

Mouse is hard at work constructing each letter of the alphabet. He dyes the D, erases the E, and folds the F. Mouse works his way right through to Z, constructing an alphabet that surpasses even the wildest artistic imagination.

A mouse works his way through the alphabet as he folds the "F," measures the "M," and rolls the "R."

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Building an alphabet is hard work, but one little mouse does it with panache in this peppy picture book (which includes a free poster) by the author of Lunch and Barnyard Banter.

From A to Z, Mouse jovially puts some muscle behind his artful creations after demarcating his workspace with yellow construction tape. Readers get to watch him airbrush an A, level the L, and measure the M, but Mouse's letters go beyond hammers and nails as he prunes a leafy P, "quilts the Q," and "x-rays the X." Of course, all this building can tucker a guy out, and he relaxes happily at the end with his Work Schedule crossed out and a happy "Hurray!!" written in.

Through stunning multicolored pulp paintings -- made by "pouring colored cotton fiber through hand-cut stencils" -- Fleming's ambitious builder will give any alphabet learner a big smile. Readers will anxiously turn the pages to see how the next letter will appear, and they'll learn challenging construction words in the meantime. Warm and spirited, this alphabet book is ideal for happy learning. Matt Warner

Kathleen Odean
Gorgeous colors fill every page of this delightful alphabet book. A jaunty mouse, who introduces each letter of the alphabet, "airbrushes the A, buttons the B, carves the C," and so on through zipping the Z. Like a messy child, the mouse covers himself with dye, icing, paint and sawdust, depending on the construction method. Few alphabet books exude such energy or have suchan enthusiastic emcee.
Publishers Weekly
Mouse, the rambunctious rodent first seen in Fleming's Lunch, returns in this concept-book salute to hands-on creativity, fashioning letters A to Z by means of various arts and crafts. Ages 2-5. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Buck-toothed and very active Mouse, who made his first appearance in Lunch (1992), constructs the alphabet. He airbrushes the A, folds the F, levels the L, saws the S, x-rays the X, and generally works himself into an exhaustion as he surveys his calendar work schedule at the book's end. Fleming's choice of verbs stretches young readers' vocabulary but the picture context provides plenty of information for interpreting those words when Mouse ices, welds, rolls, prunes, tiles, or airbrushes. Fleming's signature illustrations, paper pulp poured through stencils, deeply colored and richly textured, make this book compelling and fun to look at. It also comes with a removable frieze of Mouse's whole alphabet, which would make a colorful poster for the study or classroom. 2002, Henry Holt,
— Susan Hepler
School Library Journal
PreS-K-One very active mouse constructs an alphabet with 26 sturdy verbs. Several of them may be unfamiliar to the preschool set-airbrush, dye, judge, level, quilt, tile, weld, or X-ray-but the art, combined with a helpful adult, should make the meanings clear. The vibrant illustrations "were created by pouring colored cotton fiber through hand-cut stencils" and have appealing texture and intense color. Though the text is limited to verb/letter ("folds the F, glues the G," etc.), the art (A and Z have spreads) is the strength of this offering. Mouse, who first appeared in Fleming's Lunch (Holt, 1995), is an enthusiastic builder though a bit untidy. Novice students of the alphabet may be enticed into constructing their own alphabets and/or gathering their own set of verbs. A worthy addition to the sea of ABC books.-Jody McCoy, The Bush School, Seattle, WA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The little mouse from Fleming's Lunch (1992) literally and alliteratively works his way through the alphabet. The emphasis is on process; rather than introducing appropriate objects for each letter of the alphabet, this cheery offering presents verbs: "Mouse airbrushes the A, / buttons the B, / carves the C, . . . " With the exception of A and Z, which occupy double-page spreads, each letter takes up one page, the happily industrious mouse leveling, measuring, and nailing his way along. Fleming's trademark pulp paintings glow, the brightly colored letters standing out against equally bright and uncluttered backgrounds. The text presents the letters subtly and effectively, making it a good bridge between the very beginning alphabet books and more sophisticated offerings. Most of the lettering is done in an uneven serif font reminiscent of typescript, but the letter being worked on appears in a clean sans-serif font, the lower-case exemplar at the beginning of its appropriate verb and the upper-case as the object. The cleanness of the sans-serif font nicely complements the in-process messiness of the illustrated letters. If some of the verbs stretch the concept (Mouse "judges the J" and, inevitably, "x-rays the X"), others are just plain inspired, as Mouse prunes the topiary P and then vacuums a purple V pattern on a very dirty rug. Here's an alphabet book that's certainly worth making room for. (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780439611978
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/1/2003

Meet the Author

Denise Fleming has written and illustrated fourteen picture books, including In the Small, Small Pond, which was named a Caldecott Honor Book. Her illustrations are created by pulp painting. Ms. Fleming lives in Toledo, Ohio, with her husband, David Powers, with whom she collaborates.

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