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Matthew A.B.C.
     

Matthew A.B.C.

by Peter Catalanotto
 

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Who is missing from Mrs. Tuttle's kindergarten class?
Will he fit in as well as the other 25?

Overview

Who is missing from Mrs. Tuttle's kindergarten class?
Will he fit in as well as the other 25?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
"Mrs. Tuttle has 25 children in her class. They are all named Matthew." This could pose a problem for some teachers but certainly not for someone as perceptive as this kindergarten teacher. Not only does each Matthew have a different surname, but each has a distinctive characteristic that, coincidentally, begins with the same letter as his last name. Catalanotto is right on with his humor. Kindergarten boys will giggle at Matthew N. standing in a purple cape and underpants as we learn he is "nearly naked." Matthew G. is glued to his chair and a very stiff Matthew T. is "fiercely tense." Teachers will recognize Matthew L. He's the one whose nose leaks. When the principal brings in a new student, Matthew Zee, it is quite obvious what his obsession is. Catalanotto creates some funny sight jokes with these 26 unique boys against very simple backgrounds. Children of this age are always intrigued when they discover someone else has the same name. They will soon discover uniqueness doesn't come from one's name but rather from one's personality. 2002, A Richard Jackson Book/Atheneum Books for Young Readers,
— Sharon Salluzzo
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-There are 25 Matthews in Mrs. Tuttle's class. Following the time-honored tradition, the teacher adds the first letter of their last names to identify the boys. Conveniently, each one has a different initial and a unique characteristic that helps her keep track of the right Matthew. Some letters have cozy traits (A. is affectionate); others grasp frantically for a trait (F. has a cat on his face, R. is freckled with a rhinoceros). A few letters have the dumb and dumber appeal-L. leaks (a serious runny nose is illustrated), N. is nearly naked, and X. swallowed the xylophone. When a 26th student arrives, his name is Matthew and his clothes are covered with zippers. Though there is unquestionable kid appeal in this curious concept book, caregivers may wonder about J. who works a night job and poor E. who forgets how to eat and is illustrated mashing a spoonful of food onto his forehead. The watercolor paintings are rendered with a full brush and or many layers of color with some pages appearing a bit muddy. There are touches of wit to amuse the observant-C.'s friendly cowlick spells "hello," "enjoy," "oh my," "sshhh," "lovely," and "welcome"; B. is covered head to toe in Band-Aids. There are many wonderful alphabet books out there, but Catalanotto's fans and those with a soft spot in their hearts for the quirky will want to add Matthew A.B.C.-Jody McCoy, The Bush School, Seattle, WA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The backgrounds to the illustrations in Catalanotto's inspired alphabet book may remind readers of Mark Rothko's paintings, but the portraits of the characters in the foregrounds of the bifurcated color fields are uniformly droll. Mrs. Tuttle's kindergarten class has 25 students, all named Matthew, and most with jug ears and gap-toothed smiles. How does she tell them apart? Matthew A. is affectionate and Matthew B. is fond of Band-Aids. C. has a wild cowlick, and D. believes he's a duck. On through the alphabet Catalanotto marches, sometimes looking for laughs, as with Matthew of the high pants, at other rare times a touch of the gross, as with Matthew of the leaks, where a trickle of mucus purls down his lip. Some highfalutin' words are amiably insinuated-Matthew incognito and Matthew perplexed-while some of the visual interpretations are simply classic, like Matthew moody, who is both well-mannered (signaled by the raised pinkie of one hand holding a glass) and ill- (by sticking the thumb of the other into a cupcake). Matthew tense has a painful rictus that will have readers falling off their chairs laughing. When a new boy is introduced to the class-Matthew, of course-his pants and jacket are blazing with zippers. Just what the class needed. A stunning play of art and verbal imagination. (Picture book. 4-6)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780689845826
Publisher:
Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books
Publication date:
06/28/2002
Edition description:
Repackage
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
899,671
Product dimensions:
9.50(w) x 10.30(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
350L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 6 Years

Meet the Author

Peter Catalanotto has written seventeen books for children, including Monkey & Robot, More of Monkey & Robot, The Newbies, Question Boy Meets Little Miss Know-It-All, Ivan the Terrier, Matthew A.B.C., and Emily’s Art, of which School Library Journal said in a starred review, “whether viewed from afar or up close, this creative and heartfelt book is a masterpiece.” In 2008, First Lady Laura Bush commissioned Peter to illustrate the White House holiday brochure. He currently teaches the first children’s book writing course offered by both Columbia University and Pratt Institute. Peter has illustrated more than thirty books for other writers including George Ella Lyon, Cynthia Rylant, Mary Pope Osborne, Joanne Ryder, Robert Burleigh, and Megan McDonald.

Peter Catalanotto has written seventeen books for children, including Monkey & Robot, More of Monkey & Robot, The Newbies, Question Boy Meets Little Miss Know-It-All, Ivan the Terrier, Matthew A.B.C., and Emily’s Art, of which School Library Journal said in a starred review, “whether viewed from afar or up close, this creative and heartfelt book is a masterpiece.” In 2008, First Lady Laura Bush commissioned Peter to illustrate the White House holiday brochure. He currently teaches the first children’s book writing course offered by both Columbia University and Pratt Institute. Peter has illustrated more than thirty books for other writers including George Ella Lyon, Cynthia Rylant, Mary Pope Osborne, Joanne Ryder, Robert Burleigh, and Megan McDonald.

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