Anthropomorphized clay creations demonstrate oppositional pairs.
Whether these clay creatures are rolled into a round, “SMOOTH” ball or a “SPIKY,” hedgehoglike blob, Honsek imbues the colorful chunks of inanimate clay with a whole lot of personality. Though helped along by digitally rendered round, sparkling googly eyes, small, black smiles, and expressive eyebrows, the clay remains more abstract and symbolic than representational. Since there’s only the strikingly minimalist full-bleed backgrounds setting off the representations, the clay depends on little touches, such as differently sized eyes or a folded-over piece on a “BIG” flattened circle that implies hair, to lend personality and charisma. Portraying 11 different opposites, counting a set on the back cover, most of the concepts are clear and understandable. A representative pair shows a “LONG” purple snakelike creature meandering across a teal double-page spread juxtaposed with a “SHORT” blue wormlike one. Occasionally the duos delve into sophisticated use of color and shape theory, like a golden “HAPPY” critter with corners splayed outward contrasting with a slumped, droopy blue “SAD” one, though “HOT” and “COLD,” shown as a bright crimson flame and a spiky snowflake creation, may be too abstract for younger readers to easily interpret.
Simple yet sophisticated, this board book is fun from start to finish. (Board book. 1-4)