cover image Big Is Big (and little, little): A Book of Contrasts

Big Is Big (and little, little): A Book of Contrasts

J. Patrick Lewis, , illus. by Bob Barner. . Holiday, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-1909-8

Teaching opposites is practically effortless when it’s done via larger-than-life graphics coupled with succinct, singsong verse. With the help of the animal kingdom, this story elucidates different sizes, shapes and states of being. Lewis’s (Tulip at the Bat) simple rhymes pack a lot of information into a small number of words; each spread conveys a pair of opposites and features amusing asides that should please both caregivers and astute listeners. A cheerful family of bunnies cavorts next to a stomping, snorting bull beside the lines, “Sweet is sweet and mean is mean/ And I know which way I lean.” Later, “Mad is mad and sad is sad/ if you disobey your dad” is featured with a frowning father frog whose toddler-esque tadpole demonstrates his independence by hopping away. The text moves at a fast clip, mirroring some of the animals’ movements and making the concepts easy for even the youngest readers to grasp. Barner’s (Bug Safari) bold imagery aptly represents a myriad of beasts and the many opposites that exist in the animal kingdom. The story finishes with an alligator and butterfly bidding readers goodbye, a fitting end to an entertaining and engaging ditty. Ages 2-5. (May)