Continuing my series of four children’s books I have no hesitation in recommending a friend buy is an example of one of the simplest concepts in reading material for the very young.
Eyelike Opposites, published by Playbac. This is a collection of dynamic, beautifully composed photography, juxtaposed so as to create immediacy and help the reader see things with an unexpected perspective. Anyone who has slogged through a thousand “big, little, short, tall” offerings of the board (and bored) variety will be thrilled with this member of the “let’s learn about opposites” family. Yes, predictably, the elephant is Big, the white mouse Small, and dependable old Giraffe stands in for Tall, bending down to commune with the Short basset hounds, but Rough is pictured by a stormy sea, while Smooth is depicted by a perfect lake, reflecting, not the usual English cottage, but sharp, orange rock formations, the water broken by a perfect circle of ripples.
A polar bear shakes off millions of droplets for Wet, each one frozen in motion, a moment I can feel, as the dramatic cracks of an unforgiving desertscape and a shriveled leaf from which all trace of moisture has been wrenched embody Dry. There are completely unexpected categories as well, a shoreline crammed beak-by-wing serves as Many, a white page with black lettering proclaims None Yes, each page is described in verse, but the text, which definitely takes a back seat to the photography, has the benefit of not being stale. Frequently it is a conversation between the creatures pictured. For example, white rabbits ask the zebras where they start and end on the pages that illustrate Front and Back, and active lemur and penguin wish that snoozing puppies and bear cub will play in Asleep and Awake.
The reading level is 4-8, but the book is perfectly suited for 2-3 year olds as well, and even my 1 year-old is engaged by the pictures. When we first got it it took us a few days to get all the way through all 60 or so illustrations; there is so much potential for educational discussion on each page. Be aware this is not a board book; it would be unbelievably thick if it were! Also, there are four other books in the series: eyelike Colors, eyelike Shapes, eyelike numbers, eyelike letters I have not read these others, but if they floated across my computer screen and I had the money allotted for books I’d in all likelihood snatch them (unless it were a choice from among a dozen or so I had my eye on, as is often my lot in life!)