Big Bear Little Chair by Lizi Boyd

Making comparisons is one of the basic ways in which all of us — in particular, children — learn to make sense of the world. Which also explains the proliferation of picture books on opposites.

While at first glance, the title of this book — Big Bear Little Chair — suggests that it is yet another opposites/comparisons book, if you look closer at the cover, there’s a hint of something more intriguing going on. For one, instead of simply comparing the two bears — i.e. big bear, little bear — the author has thrown in a little (pun intended) but significant new element: the chair. And, more importantly, this playful element of surprise is carried throughout the book.

For example, there’re unexpected pairings like a lion and a wagon, as well as more familiar ones like a moon and a star, and the fun is in discovering which two elements are being compared, and how they interact within the striking illustrations that boast a mostly monochromatic palette, with poetic touches of red.

So even though the book focuses on big vs. little, the theme never gets stale; neither is its appeal limited to preschoolers. Of course, all comparisons are relative, and you’ll be charmed by the literally tiny surprises that await you at the end of the book. Brilliant!

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