Playful or confusing? The illustrations by Japanese designer Mamada in this comparisons book are charmingly naïve, but their conceptual twists tend to beg more questions than they answer.
The premise is that nothing is as it appears. An apple is round until it is half-eaten; a pangolin, while not normally round like an apple, becomes round when it curls into a ball. A duck is bigger than a small peacock—until the peacock is in full display mode. The cat is higher up the tree than the mouse—until the tree bends and the cat is lower. This could lead to an interesting discussion with a 3-year-old—or could cause endless confusion, especially since some of the concepts are not really accurate. A snake is still longer than an ant, even when many ants form a long line. In one spread, “Which one is faster,” a dog beats the snail walking up the hill, but the snail rolls down the hill faster than the dog can walk. The response might challenge the reasoning abilities of even the smartest 2- to 4-year-olds and lead to a sense of dissatisfaction. Used in an elementary classroom, however, it could prompt fruitful discussion.
Ultimately, the book presents concepts that are too mature for its apparent age group to grasp without guidance. (Picture book. 4-6)