With its opening words: “One of these things is almost like the others,” this striking, near-wordless book challenges readers to identify which object among a set of vehicles does not quite belong.
Composed of magenta, vibrant blue, and dark-purple stenciled images, the stylized vehicles and one imposter pop off each double-page spread, contrasting luminously with the white background. Thick cardboard pages with a silky texture and a slightly oversize trim add to the luxurious feel. Contraire has done a phenomenal job making the “sneaks” look so similar—who would have thought a honeybee could look so incredibly at home in a collection of helicopters? Each clever choice of misplaced object provokes thoughtful discussion on categorization. The artist plays with scale by placing an oversized baby stroller in a group of trucks, asking readers to puzzle out that while all have wheels and provide transport, one lacks a motor. A few pages aren’t so much brain teasers as they are whimsical fun, with an incongruent caterpillar inching along beside rows of trains or a toaster hidden among buses. The endpapers provide an answer key, a satisfying touch that ties the book together.
Equal parts art and riddle and sophisticated in content and tone, this board book takes readers in unexpected directions. Readers will want this book to “sneak” into their collections. (Board book. 1-3)