The Opposite

Tom MacRae, Author, Elena Odriozola, Illustrator , illus. by Elena Odriozola. Peachtree $15.95 (24p) ISBN 978-1-56145-371-9

In MacRae's diverting debut, creepily illustrated by Odriozola (Vegetable Glue ), an eerie, pale-faced "Opposite" haunts a boy and reverses all his attempts at neatness. Nate first encounters The Opposite when it pops into his room, attired from head to toe in footie pajamas that match the wallpaper. " 'Dad!' cried Nate. 'There's an Opposite on the ceiling!'... But then The Opposite happened, and it wasn't there anymore." The transparent Opposite reappears in the hall, its jumpsuit blending with the green walls. It lurks on the kitchen counter when Nate carefully tries to pour milk and overfills his cereal bowl. It sneaks under a desk when Nate aims his paintbrush at some paper and splashes his teacher with watercolor. Nate's protests ("It wasn't me!... It was The Opposite") fall on deaf ears, so he gives the trickster a taste of its own medicine ("there isn't an Opposite standing right in front of me... I do hope it will stay around forever"). Odriozola draws pliable, rosy-cheeked characters whose long noses, dot-eyes and fishlike, shoulderless torsos suggest Edward Gorey's signature style. Her watercolor palette is sunny, but the mood is spooky, especially when Nate summons and banishes The Opposite. MacRae never ventures that Nate might be crying wolf. Instead, he shows Nate cleverly dealing with opposition and growing less clumsy as a result. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 09/11/2006
Release date: 05/01/2006
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-1-84270-573-5
Hardcover - 25 pages - 978-1-84270-482-0
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