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ONE IS NOT A PAIR by Katie Haworth


by Katie Haworth ; illustrated by Britta Teckentrup

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: March 14th, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-7636-9319-0
Publisher: Big Picture/Candlewick

Combining the premises of Odd One Out (2014) and Where’s the Pair? (2015), galleries of almost identical birds, teddy bears, colorful socks, ice cream cones, and other items invite readers to match up identical pairs—then find outliers.

Good luck with that. Against misleadingly simple monochrome backgrounds, Teckentrup arranges odd numbers of familiar items—from 11 birds to 61 colored pencils—composed of multiple small geometrical elements. Haworth tells readers what to do in accompanying verses: “These red-and-white toadstools / are covered in spots, / and the ladybugs, too, / have splendid black dots. / Match up the toadstools— / there are two of each kind. / But there’s one with no mate, / which you have to find!” Several maddeningly similar mushrooms of slightly varying sizes and spot density are placed on a deep-green field, each with a ladybug that has the same number of spots as its mushroom. Spotting the one mushroom-and-ladybug pair that does not have a corresponding match is a significant challenge. The puzzles appear in an apparently arbitrary sequence rather than in increasing order of difficulty, but the final one, in which pairs (plus one unspecified singleton) drawn from all the previous pages are scattered, truly caps the lot.

Even young sleuths who had little trouble finding Waldo may be challenged by some of these exercises in pattern recognition. (Picture book. 3-6)