123 Versus ABC

Common Sense Media says

For number or letter fans, this adds up to a fun read.





What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can practice counting and learn the alphabet (A is for aligator, for example), identifying animals, objects, people, letters, and words. 

Positive messages

Letters are valuable and so are numbers. It's fun (and useful) to count things and know the alphabet. Letters and numbers (like people) can work together and solve problems. 

Positive role models

Both the letter A and the number 1 are upbeat characters trying to figure out if this is a book about numbers or letters. They are friendly, open-minded, and enthusiastic as they try to sort out the answer. 

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that 123 Versus ABC mixes humor and a friendly competition between letters and numbers to equal one very original picture book about counting and reading. Lively illustrations and snappy dialogue between the rivals provide a fun, engaging experience for young readers and parents alike. 

Parents say

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Kids say

What's the story?

The letter A and the number 1, the story's main characters and co-narrators, try to figure out whether this is a book about letters or numbers as things to be identified and counted keep mounting. The spirited rivalry continues to the last page and punch line, where they encounter a splotch of red looking for a book about colors.

Is it any good?


123 VERSUS ABC is a fresh, imaginative take on those two classroom classics: counting and learning the alphabet. Loaded with humor and action as people, animals, and other things keep adding up, it's a fast-paced, never static adventure with lots to discover on each spread, such as finding why 18 robots are wearing 19 sombreros (one is wearing two). Author-illustrator Mike Boldt's funny, colorful illustrations are as entertaining as his amusing text.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about which are better, numbers or letters? Which do you like better, anyway? Why? 

  • There are lots of alphabet and counting books. What do you think about combining both in one book? 

  • How do the pictures help tell the story? 

Book details

Author:Mike Boldt
Illustrator:Mike Boldt
Topics:Cars and trucks, Dinosaurs, Numbers and letters, Robots, Wild animals
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:June 25, 2013
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 8
Read aloud:4 - 8
Read alone:5 - 8
Available on:Hardback, Nook

This review of 123 Versus ABC was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 17 years old Written by007SPY April 10, 2014

Kids Call

Better Books But Enjoyable
What other families should know
Educational value


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