Monday, January 9, 2012

Book #9: Matthew A.B.C. by Peter Catalanotto

Image from
There are very few alphabet concept books that make me laugh out loud, but reading this book not only made me laugh, I groaned, giggled, and otherwise exclaimed.

Mrs. Tuttle is a teacher with 25 children in her class all named Matthew. How does she tell them apart? Matthew A. is extremely affectionate and Matthew B. simply adores bandaids and…so on through to Matthew Y. who only yodels. And what happens at the end of the book? Mrs. Tuttle gets another student in her class, a boy with zippers all over his clothes – Matthew Z.

Each page features a different letter/Matthew and kids will get a kick out of Catalanotto’s silliness. Such as Matthew F. who has a cat on his face and Matthew W. who has a very high waist. The pages that really make me laugh are the ones that have the other students in the background, such as Matthew F. during nap time (with a cat on his face, of course). I especially love to look for Matthew C. because he has friendly cowlicks that spell out different words.

I found this book while planning a storytime around names. There are lots of books about characters with sensational names, but this book is nice for kids who have popular names and are constantly confused with others. It’s reassuring to know that even if you have the same name as someone else people will recognize your accomplishments and differences.

Names are fun to sing, so there are some great name-centric songs just itching to be sung after you read this book. A great all ages song is Willoughby Wallaby Woo (see my post on The Hungry Thing). For younger kids try My Name Is Joe. I’ve also heard it called Button Factory or My Name is Flo. Joe works at a button factory and is constantly asked if he can push just one more button. First with his right hand, then left hand, right foot, etc. By the end everyone will be laughing as they frantically hit buttons. For older children try Catalina Magdalena (there are quite a few variations to her name). The first verse goes:

She had a funny name,
But she wasn't much to blame;
Her mother gave it to her just the same, same, same.
Catalina Magdalena Hoopensteiner Wallendiner  
Hogan Logan Bogan was her name.

Finally, there’s the poem Too Many Daves by Dr. Seuss which was originally included in the book, The Sneetches and Other Stories. It’s about a woman, Mrs. McCave, who has 23 sons and she names them all Dave! This poem lists the name she could’ve named them, but didn’t. Such as Martin O’Gravel Balloon Face and Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate.



  1. Hi Amy

    amazing ! you should make this into a my humble opinion:) Catalina Mad was my favorite song at on camp.. it is too funny and also fun to sing...

  2. Thanks, Donna!

    There actually is a Catalina book (link below), but unfortunately the illustrations are kinda gross (the cover features Catalina picking her nose with her toes...ew), so I prefer singing the song. But who knows, maybe someone will create another version :)