The Hueys in What’s the Opposite by Oliver Jeffers (InfoSoup)
The Hueys are back with another book, this one focused on opposites. One Huey starts by asking another what the opposite of beginning is, but that stumps the other one. So they move on to easier opposites like here and there, up and down, yes and no. Each of the opposites is acted out by the characters with lots of humorous touches that make the book a delight to read and share. As always, the Hueys have exactly the right tone for a preschool crowd, this time making the concept of opposites great fun to learn.
Jeffers has a real gift for quiet humor that is shown mostly in the illustrations while the text stays focused and matter of fact. Sharing this aloud is not about just reading the text, but also exploring the illustrations together to make sure that you don’t miss the smashed cup of tea when the cat is gotten down from the tree (by sawing it down). At times the text gets in on the fun too, like when the Huey caught on a desert island is unlucky at first, then lucky and then sadly, unlucky once again.
Children will enjoy that the opposites get more complex at the end of the book. A discussion of whether a glass is half full or half empty should lead to everyone joining the Huey with his hurting head. The end of the book adds to the merriment finally answering the original question of the opposite of beginning.
A real joy to read and share, this picture book will appeal to both existing Huey fans and will also earn new ones. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy received from Philomel Books.
Is It Big or Is It Little? by Claudia Rueda
Explore opposites and perspective in this little book. It is the story of a mouse and a cat, who chase across the pages, changing the perspective the reader sees from on each page. Is the ball of yarn big as seen by the mouse? Or is it little when seen by the cat? Deep water for the mouse becomes shallow when the cat heads in. Light objects for the mouse are heavy for ants. And even the most scary creature can also be scared themselves.
Rueda’s text is done in simple questions that show the opposite concepts clearly. The real draw of this book are the illustrations which have a minimalism that is very appealing. Done entirely in grays, black and orange, the illustrations have a pop edge to them that is both graphically pleasing and has great touches of humor.
Bright and bold, this book approaches opposites and perspective with a clever storyline and elegant illustrations. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy received from Eerdmans Books for Young Readers.
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.
Hippopposites by Janik Coat
This clever board book takes a hippo and runs through a variety of opposite pairs with him. There are light and dark hippos, dotted and striped hippos, soft and rough hippos, small and large hippos. Then there are the more intriguing opposites like opaque and transparent, positive and negative, clear and blurry. My favorite opposite pairing is the front and side, which made me laugh out loud with surprise. Something that rarely happens with board books! This is truly a modern, hip board book that will be enjoyed not only by young children but also their parents.
Coat makes this book dynamic and modern with her very solid graphic skills. She has a wonderful quirky sense of humor that is on display throughout the book and that combined with the strength of the simple illustrations makes this book a winner. I also like the limited color palette and the simplicity of the page design, which will work particularly well with infants.
Have a cool friend expecting a baby? This book would make an ideal gift. It will also be a great addition to the myriad of pastel board books on library shelves. Appropriate for ages birth-2.
Reviewed from copy received from Abrams Appleseed.
Dot by Patricia Intriago
This concept book uses dots to demonstrate opposites and follows the course of a day into night. It opens with a big yellow dot that is very sun-like. Then the simple but very strong graphic design creates a zippy, fun feel as the opposites are demonstrated. Lines are added to show motion and direction. Then chunks are taken out to show additional opposite pairs. The simplicity lends the entire book a vibrancy and sense of humor. Most of the book is done using black and white. When color is used it is done specifically to show a concept, like red for stop and green for go.
The text is just as simple as the illustrations, offering the concepts being shown. It also has a nice rhythm that moves the book forward easily.
Ideal for toddlers and for teaching opposites, this book is simply perfection. Appropriate for ages 1-3. Pair this with Lots of Dots by Craig Frazier for a story time filled with great illustrations and plenty of dotty fun.
Reviewed from copy received from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
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A Garden of Opposites by Nancy Davis
This bright, graphically-interesting and fun book offers pairs of opposites in a garden setting. The opposites are very basic such as open/closed, long/short, and asleep/awake. Davis’ illustrations are big and bold, filled with bright colors that will shout out to a group easily. Equally likeable is the font and text size which will work well for reading aloud but also for new readers just figuring things out.
Recommended as a cheery spring opposite book, this one is perfect for toddlers ages 1-3.