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.
Making comparisons can be tricky, since it depends on who or what you are comparing. In this book, two fuzzy creatures can’t agree on whether one is big or the other is small, until some unexpected visitors (literally) drop in to offer them a fresh perspective.
In this day and age of globalisation and digital citizenship, one would think that overbearing censorship practices — especially when the dubiously ‘controversial’ material in question is widely available elsewhere in the world or, better yet, one Google search away on the internet — are not only pointless, but also pathetically archaic and, in many cases, reflect the narrow-minded prejudices of the ‘powers-that-be’.
It’s human nature to want to accumulate or even hoard things that one may or may not need (also known as how-clutter-takes-shape) — and, worse, to constantly crave and/or ask for more. But, as we all know, sometimes, there can be too much of a good thing.
In More, a magpie starts off with an empty nest — but not for long. It begins innocuously with a shiny marble that he receives as a gift, but the magpie soon picks up more and more of such little treasures (one man’s junk is another bird’s treasure — who are we to judge?), which he hoards away in his nest(s).
Before long, his heaving collection of knick-knacks (based on the real-life clutter of the illustrator) becomes unmanageable, and is a disaster waiting to happen…
Up, Tall and High reads almost like a funny comic because the economical text is entirely in speech bubbles. The quirky birds in the book enjoy one-upping (literally, ha!) each other while conveniently making comparisons about height and distance. A few large flaps are also used for great comic and dramatic effect. This is one of the few books that have made my son burst into laughter, so the humour seems to be spot-on for its intended audience.
Curious George: Bigger and Smaller is a great book that helps toddlers learn about making comparisons in size, with clever fold-out pages that clearly and progressively illustrate the use of superlatives e.g comparing something that is “high” vs. something that is considered to be “higher”, and finally, what it means for something to be considered the “highest”.