Alphabet Under Construction

by Denise Fleming (Author) Denise Fleming (Illustrator)

Alphabet Under Construction
Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

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 bright, beautiful concept book from best selling picture book Denise Fleming.

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Publishers Weekly

Mouse, the rambunctious rodent first seen in Fleming's Lunch, returns in this concept-book salute to hands-on (or, in this case, paws-on) creativity. Beginning at the beginning the letter A, of course Mouse fashions letters by means of various arts and crafts. Fleming has embraced the broadest definition of "construction" to include such activities as sawing, gluing, buttoning, icing (as in a cake) and quilting. Young children will no doubt enjoy seeing Mouse scurry sometimes humorously splattered with materials from one letter to the next, although they may puzzle over a few of the scenes. A few of the entries strain to fit the overall theme as when Mouse X-rays the X, Yanks the Y and Judges the J. The always playful, exuberant mood of Fleming's handmade-paper artwork, however, remains intact. Her broad range of dynamic, intense colors envelops readers with its sunny warmth. Ages 2-5. (Aug.) Copyright 2002 Publishers Weekly Used with permission.

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 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"Fleming offers an engaging conceit executed in a marvelous medium." —Booklist, starred review

"Here's an alphabet book that's certainly worth waiting for." —Kirkus Reviews

Denise Fleming

Denise Fleming has written and illustrated many children's books, including "In the Tall, Tall Grass," "Shout! Shout It Out"!, and "Sleepy, Oh So Sleepy." She won a Caldecott Honor for "In the Small, Small Pond." Denise published her first painting in the third grade, when she started taking classes at the Toledo Museum of Art and one of her paintings was chosen to be the cover of a teacher's magazine. She now works primarily with paper, by pouring colored paper pulp through hand-cut stencils. She lives in Toledo, Ohio.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Henry Holt & Company
Publication date
July 20, 2006
BISAC categories
JUV009010 - Juvenile Fiction | Concepts | Alphabet
Library of Congress categories
Alphabet books
Capitol Choices: Noteworthy Books for Children and Teens
Recommended 2002 - 2002
South Carolina Childrens, Junior and Young Adult Book Award
Nominee 2005 - 2006
Texas 2x2 Reading List
Recommended 2003 - 2003

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