Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pomelo's Opposites

School Library Journal (September 1, 2013)

K-Gr 3-Filled with whimsy, surprise, and pure fun, this French import extends the idea of opposites far beyond the basics. More than 100 pages are packed neatly into the small, square-shaped frame, with contrasting words and images facing on each spread. Many, but not all, feature Pomelo, a big-eyed, long-trunked pink elephant demonstrating each example. The book begins with fairly standard word pairs, but the art is anything but predictable. For example, "morning/evening" features identical scenes with the skies reversed. Further page turns lead to even more imaginative interpretations. The words stray from direct opposites in playful ways, such as "something"/"whatever" and "handsome"/"weird." The cartoon drawings are often funny: one shows a red piece of food going "in" the elephant's mouth, then coming out his opposite end, having turned brown after digestion. Some are thought-provoking: a flower losing its petals represents "fleeting," then the same flower is captured in a painting for "permanent." When the word pairs require an extra bit of stretching to fit as opposites, such as "on snailback"/"by turtle," it's in keeping with the creative, carefree tone that permeates the book. Rich vocabulary ("stalagmite," "concave," and "gastropod," for example) and deceptively subtle visual interpretations make this a great choice for parent-child sharing and discussion, but solo children will have no problem immersing themselves in the clever, playful, and deftly imagined illustrations.-Steven Engelfried, Wilsonville Public Library, OR (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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