Review: Pomelo’s Opposites by Ramona Badescu

pomelos opposites

Pomelo’s Opposites by Ramona Badescu, illustrated by Benjamin Chaud

Pairs of opposites are shown together, one on each page.  But this is no regular opposites book, instead it is filled with sly humor.  The first surprise is how think this small square book is with page after page of opposites, more than you would have thought possible.  And it’s those unusual opposites, the ones that you have to stretch to understand that make this such a winning little book.  There are the expected opposites like far and near, left and right, high and low.  Turn a few more pages though, and you will see dream and reality, handsome and weird.  Filled with surprise after surprise, this is an opposite book that children of all ages will enjoy.

Chaud’s illustrations are really the winners here.  The text is so simple, just word pairs that the illustrations have to carry the book.  In and out is shown as eat and poop, which is sure to delight children.  Others are completely strange like evident and unimaginable.  I’ll let you explore to find out the images for that. 

This is a book that gets you thinking about the nature of opposites.  Children can use it as a jumping off point for creating their own unusual opposites and illustrating them.  Or just read it and laugh out loud at the great surprises waiting for you.  Appropriate for ages 3-6.

Review: My Happy Life by Rose Lagercrantz

my happy life

My Happy Life by Rose Lagercrantz, illustrated by Eva Eriksson

Dani has a very happy life, something that she thinks about as she falls asleep every night.  She has a father who loves her very much and is about to start school for the first time.  At first Dani feels like she will never make any friends at school, but then she notices another little girl who is standing alone.  Soon Ella and Dani are best friends, inseparable.  That doesn’t mean that they don’t fight sometimes, but they never fought for long.  But all too soon, Dani discovers that Ella is moving away.  Now Dani has to figure out how to go on without her best friend and it’s not easy.  Dani ends up with a scraped knee and a bandaged head and even hurts a boy in her class by shoving him.  Yet, Dani is a naturally happy person and quickly apologizes for what she did.  It’s not easy, but she learns to move on from missing her friend to being happy once again.

Originally published in Sweden, this book has the feel of a European import.  It has a gentle feel to it but also a deep honesty that is wonderful to see.  Dani has had many challenges in her life, including losing her mother, but she is the epitome of a happy person who embraces joy in every way.  This is an uplifting book where there are challenges, lots of strong negative emotions, but in the end, happiness prevails in a very natural and unforced way.

The illustrations and text work together in harmony here.  I was actually surprised to see that they were done by two people rather than just one since they work so very well together.  The images of the two friends together are buoyant while those of Dani in more dark moods continue to shine with a subtle light even when sad or hurt.

Perfect for families who are trying to be more mindful and happy, this book is a joy to read and to share.  It would also make a great cuddling story for bedtime, leaving everyone smiling together.  Appropriate for ages 5-7.

Reviewed from library copy.