A clever introduction to the concept of opposites for the board-book set.
Clear, simple drawings and the ingenious use of die-cut pages illustrate several paired, contrary concepts. Zoe, a zebra, and her friend Zack, a chameleon, introduce readers to a series of geographical, physical, and emotional antipodes. On the first two pages, the two friends run down parallel sets of stairs; turn the page with the die-cut staircase, and those very same images of Zoe and Zack appear to be bounding up the stairs. In the next spread, Zoe and Zack sit sadly, watching a caged bird. Turn the die-cut page, and the bars of the cage become the stems of flowers, as the bird flies free to the obvious delight of the now-happy friends. Readers will easily grasp the contrasted concepts, although not all of the words are exact antonyms. “Happy” is paired with “sad” and also with “angry.” A castle is “knocked down,” rather than broken, and then “fixed.” The book was originally published in French; some of the featured terms may have been more obvious opposites prior to (the uncredited) translation. Perhaps the weakest pairing is “upset” and “not upset anymore,” although the expression of opposites through negation is a useful, age-appropriate construction, and the meaning, expressed in terms of lost ice cream and the palliative power of sharing, couldn’t be clearer.
Appealing characters, novel presentation, and useful concepts—a winner! (Board book. 1-3)