Hooray! Jeffers’ Hueys return—not in a story, but in a concept book about opposites.
It opens with two Hueys failing to determine the opposite of “the beginning” but then succeeding in naming those for other words like “up,” “high,” “cold,” and so on. Jeffers deftly exploits interdependence of art and text as illustrations present the opposing concepts with humor and panache. For example, the text reading “And the opposite of high…” is accompanied by a picture of a cat in a tree exclaiming “UH-oh!” while one Huey gazes up in concern, his coffee cup on the ground before him, and another strides toward the tree with a handsaw. The facing page resolves the opposite with the phrase “is low” and shows the felled tree and the cat sitting on a stump licking its paw. “Thanks,” it says—but that’s not all that’s happening on this page: the other Huey now stands bereft while gazing at his smashed coffee cup on the ground under the tree. Such humor punctuates many spreads, but some scenarios are a bit harder to read than others (the happy/sad juxtaposition requires a fair amount of sophistication, for instance). The conclusion, finally naming the opposite of the beginning as “the end,” is crystal clear and funny to boot.
A clever concept book from beginning to end. (Picture book. 3-6)